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REYNOLD '-^toricAE, 


3 1833 01147 8986 


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From a Photograph Late in Life. Owned by the Buffalo Historical Societ> 


A T the risk of unduly loading these pages, it is desirable to sup- 
.ZjL plement the data contained in the Introduction, volume one, 
with a few further notes chiefly relative to matters touched 
on in volume two. 

!The present volume opens with Mr. Fillmore's speeches in the 
campaign of 1856, when he was the candidate of the American party 
as President. It will be borne in mind that he was also the candidate 
of the National Whig convention at Baltimore, Sept. 17-18; but 
this tardy endorsal gave him no appreciable advantage. In his letter 
accepting the Whig nomination (II., pp. 366, 367) Mr. Fillmore 
apparently confuses his dates. 

It was charged by his political adversaries in this campaign, with 
the air of forever condemning him in the regard of good citizens, 
that Mr. Fillmore submitted to an initiation in a Know-nothing 
lodge, lending himself to a great deal of tomfoolery. Nothing worthy 
of acceptance on this point has been found by the editor. Certainly 
nothing less in keeping with Mr. Fillmore's character could be con- 
ceived. He did, however, receive a formal endorsal by the Order of 
United Americans, which in some sections appears to have developed 
elaborate secret features of ritual and lodge-work. Mr. Fillmore's 
acceptance of this source of support — absurdly feeble as the outcome 
showed — will be found at page 361 of the present volume. 

Mr. Fillmore's views at a later period are readily gathered from 
his own utterances. On June 1, i860, the Buffalo Commercial Ad- 
vertiser announced that it was "authorized and requested" by Mr. 
Fillmore to deny a current report that "he had openly declared that 
lie will support the Chicago nominations" of Lincoln and Hamlin. 
"So far as we know Mr. Fillmore's sentiments," adds the,. Commer- 
cial, "they remain the same as they were in 1856. He deprecates all 
sectional parties as dangerous to the welfare and peace of the coun- 
try. In that category he includes the Republican party. We do not. 
If he has any preferences we doubt not that they are directly for 
Bell and Everett." 




In regard to Mr. Fillmore's remarks to the Senate, on preserving 
order, April 3, 1850 (I., pp. 289-295), a further word is needed. It 
is true that "certain disorderly tendencies were checked," but it is 
not true that they ceased. Just two weeks after the Vice-President 
made his plea for decency, Senator Henry S. Foote of Mississippi 
made his famous spectacular attack on Thomas II. Benton, when the 
latter, tearing aside his shirt-bosom, turned his bared breast to the 
assailant and cried, '"Let the assassin shoot !" Foote appears to have 
been quite ready to turn the melodrama into tragedy, but was 
stopped by the rush of many senators, rather than by the impotent 
appeal of Mr. Fillmore that the gentlemen should resume their seats 
and maintain order. It was beyond question one of the most trying 
episodes in Mr. Fillmore's career. An investigation was ordered, 
but before the committee reported (July 30) Mr. Fillmore had 
passed to the Presidency. 1 

That Mr. Fillmore had a pleasant acquaintance with Washington 
Irving is intimated b} r his letter of Feb. 26, 1854, to John P. Kennedy. 
in which he expresses the hope that Mr. Irving may accompany them 
on the proposed Southern tour. Irving was on intimate terms with 
Mr. Kennedy — President Fillmore's last Secretary of the Navy — and 
with his family, whose home in Baltimore was for many years a 
social and literary center of distinction. Spending the last days of 
Mr. Fillmore's Administration there and in Washington, Mr. Irving 
made numerous allusions in his letters to the President. February 
25, 1853, he wrote from Washington : 

"I went down, yesterday, in the steamer Vixen, with a large party, to visit 
the caloric ship Ericsson. In our party were the two Presidents (Fillmore and 
Pierce), all the Cabinet, and many other official characters. . . . This evening 
I have been at the last reception of President Fillmore. It was an immense 
crowd, for the public seemed eager to give him a demonstration, at parting, of 
their hearty good-will." 

Some weeks later (Apr. 4, 1853), writing to his friend Robert C. 
Winthrop of Boston, Mr. Irving said: 

"You have no doubt been shocked, like myself, at the sad bereavement 
which has afflicted the worthy Fillmore family. I almost think poor Mrs. Fill- 
more must have received her death-warrant while standing by my side on the 
marble terrace of the Capitol, exposed to chilly wind and snow, listening to 
the inaugural speech of her husband's successor. This sad event, as you per- 
ceive, has put an end to the Southern tour, which did not sevm to meet your 
approbation, and has left Kennedy to the quiet of his home and his library, 
which I should think he would relish after the tuimoil of Washington." 

1. On the Foote-Benton affair, see Cong. Globe, 31st Cong., :st sess. 


The Southern tour, as the reader knows, was postponed until the 
following year. Then, although Mr. Kennedy urged Mr. Irving to 
join the party, the jaunt had little attraction for the aged author. 
"I have no inclination," he wrote with characteristic pleasantry, "to 
travel with political notorieties, to be smothered by the clouds of 
party dust whirled up by their chariot-wheels, and beset by the 
speech-makers and little great men and bores of every community 
who might consider Mr. Fillmore a candidate for another presi- 
dential term." To Mrs. Kennedy he wrote (Feb. 21, 1854) : 
"Heaven preserve me from any tour of the kind ! . . . To have to 
listen to the speeches that would be made, at dinners and other 
occasions, to Mr. Fillmore and himself [Mr. Kennedy] ; and to the 
speeches that Mr. Fillmore and he would make in return ! . . . I 
would as lief go campaigning with Hudibras or Don Quixote." 

To Mrs. Kennedy Mr. Irving could write with all the playfulness 
of a fond father. Flis allusion to Mrs. Fillmore,, above quoted, was 
very likely a true surmise as to the origin of her fatal illness. 

Mr. Fillmore was much criticized for his participation in the 
Southern Commercial Convention of 1869, over which he presided. 
He was beyond doubt absolutely free from political aspirations in 
connection therewith. One outcome of this convention, which may 
be assumed as of advantage to our country, was the work of a com- 
mission, appointed by Mr. Fillmore, which vbited the great Russian 
fairs at St. Petersburg and Novgorod, and also the chief commercial 
cities of Europe, for the purpose of attracting immigration, and 
capital, to the South and West. 

In view of the local character of the series in which these 
Fillmore Papers appear, it has been deemed desirable to make note 
of as many matters of local consequence, with which Mr. Fillmore 
was connected, as were worthy of record. One matter, merely 
touched on, was an early educational movement. Mr. Fillmore was 
one of a number of residents of Buffalo who, in July, 1831, signed 
a circular calling on the citizens of the county to see that their towns 
were represented at a meeting to be held in September, when it was 
proposed to organize the Erie County School Association, as aux- 
iliary to the New York State Lyceum. One of the original circulars, 
preserved by the Buffalo Historical Society, sets forth the purposes 
of the association, and contains also an offer from the Buffalo Liter- 
ary and Scientific Academy, Theodotus Burwell, principal, of free 
tuition to young men fitting themselves for teachers. 

At I. Fillmore, p. 51, a note gives the history of the old town of 
Erie, now Newstead. It may be added, on the authority of Crisfield 


Johnson (History of Erie County, p. 394), that the new name was 
chosen by Mrs. Fillmore, who chanced at the time to be reading 
Byron, and suggested the name of his ancestral home, "Newstead 
Abbey." Mr. Johnson records sundry anecdotes of Mr. Fillmore; 
one of which, telling how he was accustomed to sit "of a summer 
evening, in the midst of a group of villagers, smoking his pipe" 
(p. 3S8), is squarely contradicted by Mr. Fillmore's own statement, 
"I never smoked or chewed tobacco." (I., Int. p. xxxvi.) 

Mr. Fillmore was an honorary member of several historical so- 
cieties,- those of Massachusetts and Maryland among others. The 
records of the Buffalo society contain many minutes, resolutions, etc., 
written in his hand. These, although of value in the society's 
records, lack public interest, and are omitted from our collection. 
One resolution written by Mr. Fillmore, on the death of Edward 
Everett, his former Secretary of State, Jan. 15, 1865, may be here 

Resolved, That the sudden death of the Hon. Edward Everett is a national 
misfortune which we deeply deplore. In him were most happily blended all the 
qualities and accomplishments that adorn human nature — the clear intellect; 
the learned scholar; the sagacious diplomatist; the eloquent orator; the pro- 
found statesman, and above all the honest man, devoted patriot and humble 
Christian, forming a character equally beloved and admired, the memory of 
which will be cherished by every American citizen. 

That Mr. Fillmore took a genuine interest in things historical, is 
attested by the thoroughness with which he examined available maps 
and documents, to learn if possible the origin of the name of Buffalo. 
(See in this volume, pp. 72-77. 421-425.) Genealogy did not attract 
him. Several of his letters indicate an absence of curiosity regarding 
his own ancestry which has been, perhaps still is, a widely character- 
istic American trait. While he had none of the pride which seeks 
distinction from the reputation of remote forebears, he had a very 
warm attachment for the living men and women of his family, no 
matter how humble their station. On account of the connection of 
his ancestry with Norwich, Conn., but especially that he might greet 
living relatives, both near and remote, he attended the bi-centennial 
celebration in that town, Sept. 7 to 9, 1859, and rode in a procession, 
but does. not appear to have made any address on that occasion. 

His connection with many Buffalo institutions has been suf- 
ficiently indicated. One not heretofore noted, was the Buffalo 
Orphan Asylum, to which he bequeathed $1000 — the only bequest to 
a public institution in his will. 

Soon after his death, agitation was begun by his friends for the 
erection of a worthy memorial. One proposition was to rename 


Delaware avenue — Buffalo's finest residence street — for him. Later 
a new parkway was given his name. 

Mr. Fillmore's first residence in Buffalo was in the old Phoenix 
hotel. The house most associated with him, described in 1853 as "the 
plain white two-story house with green blinds, and a little yard in 
front," is still standing at No. 180 Franklin street, though so mod- 
ernized that its street front has little resemblance to the house Mr. 
Fillmore knew. The gothic house on Niagara Square, now a part 
of a hotel bearing another name, was bought by Mr. Fillmore after 
his retirement from public life; and there it was he died. 

Not many years since the suggestion of a local newspaper that a 
statue of Mr. Fillmore be erected in the square opposite his former 
home precipitated an acrimonious correspondence which v/ell showed 
that his townsmen were by no means ready to join in a memorial. 
Although numerous portraits and busts have been made, Buffalo is 
still without any suitable memorial of Millard Fillmore. 

Mr. Fillmore gathered a considerable property, most of which 
passed to his son. When the latter died, Nov. 15, 1889, the inventory 
of his estate showed a value of $285,705.66, and contained the follow- 
ing items: Railroad bonds and other securities, $174,590; cash, 
bank deposits, bond and mortgage, $58,910.74; silver plate, $318.99; 
library, $1493.40. The silver plate may have included the memorial 
service spoken of in this volume (pp. 304. 305). There were also 
"a sword, a sabre, two guns and a pistol,'' presumably relics, in part 
at least, of the John Fillmore whose adventures with pirates have 
been given. These souvenirs are supposed to have passed into the 
possession of other relatives. 

Many a resident of Buffalo will recall the auction sale of Mr. 
Fillmore's library, held in Buffalo, Dec. 20. 30 and 31, 1890. Since 
his father's death it had belonged to Millard Powers Fillmore, but 
the collection remained for the most pan: as the elder man had 
formed it. It was in no wise a notable library. There were few 
books of monetary value, and fewer yet that were rare. It contained 
many Government reports, and other works valuable only for the 
information they might offer. The printed catalogue, of fifty odd 
pages, is pathetic in its arid lack of poetry, of belles lettreSj of well 
nigh everything that breathes of beauty and of spirit. A touch of 
personal association attaches to one item, the ''Voyages and Adven- 
tures of Captain Robert Beyle" (Liverpool, 1745), containing a note 
by Mr. Fillmore, saying it was the first novel he ever read. A num- 
ber of Mr. Fillmore's books are now in the library of the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 


Mr. Fillmore's letters, like those of other Presidents, are fre- 
quently offered for sale by dealers in literary wares. Such a letter, 
recently advertised, was written by Mr. Fillmore at Buffalo, Aug. 15, 
1856, to Robert G. Rankin, in which occurs this sentence: ''I have 
no recollection of ever having seen the Treaty between Russia and 
China to which you refer." Another letter not long since sold was 
dated Mar. 27, 1851, and addressed to the Secretary of State: "I 
shall be happy to receive Mr. Osma, Charge d'Affaires ad interim 
from Peru, tomorrow at 12," etc. Still another, of which only the 
address can be noted, was written to Geo. Ticknor Curtis, Sept. 2, 
1S71. Beyond question there are many of Mr. Fillmore's letters in 
the hands of dealers or collectors; some of them are probably of 
historical value, could they be brought into a general collection of 
Mr. Fillmore's writings, thereby helping to establish his views and 
his part in American history. Detached, scattered and hidden, they 
are useless to the student. Other letters of Mr. Fillmore which are 
known to exist, are in the faded letter-books of his old law-firm, now 
stored in a law-office attic in Buffalo. While something of value 
might have been gleaned, had these letter-books been accessible for 
the present publication, the probability is that such of Mr. Fillmore's 
letters as would be found in them relate chiefly to his business 
affairs, and but little to public and political issues. 

The following letter came into the possession of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society too late for use in its proper place in this volume : 

House of Rep. Feb. 24, 1841. 

Hon. Daniel Webster, 

Sir: Understanding that Joseph C. Luther. Esq., of New York 
city is a candidate for the office of Consul at Havre, I beg leave to 
say that from a long and intimate acquaintance with Mr. Luther, I 
believe him to be a man of strict integrity, methodical and persever- 
ing business habits, acquainted with mercantile affairs, and possessed 
of a high order of intellect. 

He is one of those gentlemen whom the experiments of the last 
few years have reduced from a state of affluence to that of: poverty — 
with a most amiable and excellent wife depending upon him for sup- 
port—and as I believe none more worthy, if it be possible to confer 
upon him the office to which lie aspires, I doubt not he would dis- 
charge its duties faithfully and creditably to himself and with honor 
to the country. 

If it were proper to indulge private friendships, and individual 
wishes in a measure like this, I would say that no appointment that 


is likely to be made after that of the Cabinet, could give me, per- 
sonally, so much gratification as this. 
1 have the honor to be 

Your fellow citizen 

Millard Fillmore 

Supplementing the acknowledgments made in the Introduction to 
volume one, thanks are hereby extended, for the use of manuscripts, 
to Mr. C. E. Goodspeed, Boston; Mr. J. M. Fox, Philadelphia; and 
the Historical Society of Rochester, N. Y. For permission to re- 
print letters by Mr. Fillmore contained in "The Letters of Daniel 
Webster," etc., acknowledgment is made to the editor, Prof. C. H. 
Van Tyne, Ann Arbor, Mich., and to the publishers, McClure, 
Phillips & Co., New York. F. H. S. 

Errata, volume two. Page 46: For "Orasmus" H. Marshal] 
read "Orsamus" H. Marshall. For "Eldridge" G. Spaulding read 
"Elbridge" G. Spaulding. 

Page 195, eighth line from top: "For "Daniel B. Barnard" 
read "Daniel D. Barnard." Near middle of page, for "Vander- 
pool" read "Vanderpocl." 

Page 196, note: For "uniformerly" read "uniformly." 

Page 360: For "Ephriam" Marsh read "Ephraim" Marsh. 

Page 440, third line from top: For "1895" read "1905." 




Notes, Volume Two iii 


On arrival at New York, June 22, 1856 3 

At the St. Nicholas Hotel, New York, June 23 ... . 4 

At the New York City Hall, June 23 6 

To the Whig General Committee, in New York .... 9 

Addresses in Brooklyn, June 24 11 

Speech at Newburgh 16 

Speech at Poughkeepsie 17 

Trie famous "Union" Speech at Albany, June 26 . . . 19 

Speech at Rochester, June 27 23 

Speech at Albion 27 

Speech at Lockport 28 

Remarks at Tonawanda 29 

' Address in Buffalo, June 28 31 


GIVEN IN BUFFALO 1841 TO 1873 35 

On the death of President Harrison, Apr. 13, 1841 . . 37 
In welcome to ex-President John Quincy Adams, July 

26, 1843 39 

In behalf of Ireland, Feb. 15, 1S47 41 

As Chancellor of the University of Buffalo, June 16, 

1^47 43 

At the Dedication of the Buffalo Medical College, 

Nov. 7, 1849 50 

At the Dedication of the Buffalo General Hospital, 

June 24. 1S58 56 

At the Atlantic Cable Banquet, Sept. i, 1858 58 

At the University of Buffalo, Feb. 23, 1859 59 

At the Buffalo Central School, Feb. 22, 1861 61 

At the Union Rally, Apr. 16, 1861 62 

On receiving a flag for the Union Continentals, July 

4, 1861 64 





1862 67 

Inaugural Address as President of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society, July i, 1862 . 69 

At the Christian Commission Fair, Feb. 22, 1864 ... 85 

Reminiscences of Asa Rice 91 

Sketch of Joseph Clary 9S 

On the Death of Lincoln, May 9, 1865 106 

In welcome to President Andrew Johnson, Sept. 3, 1866 109 

Before the Humane Society, Buffalo, Mch. 21, 1867 . . no 
At the Von Humboldt anniversary celebration, Sept. 

14, 1869 112 

At the Southern Commercial Convention, Louisville, 

Ky., Oct. ii, 1869 114 

In honor of Maj.-Gen. William F. Barry, Oct. 25, 1867 117 
Before the Erie County Bar Association, on the death 

of Hon. John B. Skinner, June 8, 1871 121 

In memory of Samuel F. B. Morse, Apr. 16, 1S72 .... 124 
At the opi-.ning of the Buffalo, New York & Phila- 
delphia Railway, Aug. i8, 1872 128 

On kindness to Animals, Mch. 3, 1873 129 

On the Buffalo Historical Society, June 26, 1873 ... 130 

SEPT., 1873) -131 






IN 1862 397 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1861 TO 1874 410 




Tribute of Hon. James O. Putnam, Mch. ii, 1874 . . . 465 
Address by Gen. James Grant Wilson, Jan. 7, 1878 . . . 469 
The "Fillmore Evening," Jan. 10, 1899 4S5 




Forty-fifth annual meeting, Jan. 8, 1907 519 

Elf.ction of Officers 519 

The Secretary's Report for 1906 520 


Buffalo Historical Society Membership 527 

Buffalo Historical Society Publications 535 

Index to Vols. X and XI 543 


Portrait, Millard Fillmore late in life Frontispiece 

Millard Fillmore in 1S55 Faces page 33 

Mr. Fillmore as captain, Union Continentals . " " 65 

The firm of Fillmore, Hall & Haven " " 307 

Fillmore medals given to Indian chiefs " " 315 

Fillmore tokens, campaign of 1856 " " 361 

Mr. Fillmore in 1S62 " " 397 

Rare portrait of Daniel Webster " " 427 

Portrait, Mrs. Caroline C. Fillmore " " 451 

The Fillmore residence, Niagara Square, Buf- 
falo " " 465 

Millard Fillmore's Grave " " 4S5 


























The American party, at its National convention at Phila- 
ielphia, February 26, 1856, chose Air. Fillmore as its can- 

didate for President. He appears first to have received the 
news while in Rome, but the official letter of notification 
reached him in Venice early in May. He wrote his letter of 
acceptance at Paris, and arrived in New York on June 22d. 
There, and in all the principal towns through which his way 
lay to Buffalo, he was forced by the political exigencies of 
the hour as well as by popular enthusiasm to address the 
crowds that everywhere greeted his coming. The following 
record of these speeches is drawn from the newspapers and 
pamphlets of the day. 


When the steamship Atlantic, on which Mr. Fillmore was 
a passenger, reached her wharf at New York, Sunday even- 
ing, June 22a, a reception committee boarded the vessel and 
found Mr. Fillmore sitting quietly near the cabin door. 
Alderman Briggs, for the committee, having delivered an 
address, Mr. Fillmore responded : 

Mr. Chairman: This unexpected and flattering recep- 
tion from the city of New York, and my native State, 
reaches a heart that cannot feel otherwise than grateful. It 
is true, sir, that for more than a year I have been a laborious 
traveler in foreign countries, and though I have wandered 

4 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

far, my heart has always been yearning- for my own native 
land. And this, sir, is the happiest and proudest moment of 
my life, to be received thus by a city that is known all over 
Europe. For you can travel in any part of Europe and ask 
the humblest peasant what city he knows in America, and 
he will reply, "the city of New York." I am proud to own 
that I am a native of the State of New York, but I am 
prouder still to say that I am an American citizen. 

Sir, you have been pleased to allude to my former ser- 
vices to my country. It does not become me to speak of 
them ; they have already passed into the history of the coun- 
try. Much less would it become me to speak of the future. 
All I can say is, sir, that my name, unsolicited on my part, 
and entirely unexpected, has been presented by my friends 
for the suffrages of the people. If they shall see fit again 
to manifest their confidence in me by elevating" me to that 
high position, all I can promise is, a faithful and impartial 
administration of the laws of the country, to every part of 
the country. If there be those either North or South, who 
desire an administration for the North as against the South, 
or for the South as against the North, they are not the men 
who should give their suffrages to me. For my own part, 
I know only my country, my whole country, and nothing but 
my country. 

Sir, I was unexpectedly called upon to address you this 
evening, and can only conclude by returning my thanks and 
an appreciation of the honor which the Corporation of the 
City of New York has unexpectedly done me in this recep- 
tion. I return my thanks to the people, too. 


On arriving at the St. Nicholas Hotel about 1 o'clock 
a. m., in order to gratify the throng that had gathered, Mr. 
Fillmore appeared on a balcony and addressed them briefly : 

Fellow-Citizens: I believe I shall hardly trespass upon 
the Sabbath— -for it is past midnight — if I give you my 
thanks for this welcome back to my native State. You may 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 5 

readily conceive that a person come from a long voyage, 
weakened by seasickness and wearied by travel, can hardly 
appreciate the enthusiasm displayed by a street full of peo- 
ple, gathered together at this unseasonable hour. I have 
seen much of European life — I have been able to contrast 
it with my own country. Compared with my own I would 
say to you, that after all my wanderings, my heart turns 
to America, my home and the place of my birth. 

But, fellow-citizens, this is no time for a speech, and 1 
will merely add, that from this time forward, I am not only 
with you but of you. 

The following morning (June 23d) Mr. Fillmore was 
waited upon at the hotel by a delegation from Philadelphia, 
whose spokesman, Hon. Henry D. Moore, made a speech of 
welcome and invited him to visit Philadelphia. Mr. Fillmore 
responded : 

Mr. Chairman : This unexpected welcome from the city 
of our Independence and of the Constitution, calls forth 
feelings of gratitude which I have not words to express. 
If there be any place outside of my native State which I 
respect, more than another, that place is Philadelphia. Its 
history, its sacred associations, all inspire me with respect 
and admiration, and I look to it as the birthplace of our 
Liberty and our Laws, for there Independence w r as pro- 
claimed and our Constitution formed ; and when I see here 
today the number of your delegation, and know 7 the intelli- 
gence they represent, this kindness gives me a pleasure I 
have not the power adequately to express. 

You have, sir, in your remarks, seen fit to allude to my 
travels and receptions in foreign countries. It is true that, 
from the crowned head to the peasant, I have been received 
everywhere with kindness and respect; but I do not at- 
tribute this to any merit of my own, but to the fact that your 
power had elevated me to the office of Chief Magistrate of 
this great and free Republic. But often, sir, while I have 
received such kindness abroad, I must own that I have 

6 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

heard, with the most painful solicitude, of events and scenes 
which have been transpiring at home. Not often, in many 
parts of Europe, have I been able to see an American paper, 
but extracts from them I have seen everywhere copied into 
foreign journals, which showed that alarming dissensions 
and turmoil existed in my own country, such as excited in 
my mind the liveliest solicitude, and which have given me 
the greatest pain. And when it is known that foreign mon- 
archies are watching with feelings of satisfaction every new 
cause of internal discord, and expecting therefrom a speedy 
dissolution of this model Republic, is it to be wondered at 
that such should be my feelings? 

But, sir, it was some consolation to see — nay, a real satis- 
faction to know — that in all parts of Europe, many hopeful 
hearts were beating with anxious solicitude for our welfare, 
and were trusting and believing, that a free and intelligent 
people would continue to govern themselves. They trusted, 
and I trusted with them, that the clay is far distant when we 
shall be called upon to witness so great a calamity as civil 
war in these States. For God's sake, let us remember that 
our present freedom and greatness are the gift of our fore- 
fathers, and of their concord and unity in your own city of 

But I am trespassing on your time. I only intended to 
return my acknowledgments for your kind invitation to me 
to visit your city. I regret that it is out of my power to 
accept it. I am anxious to return to my home, and see my 
friends from whom I have been so long absent — and at 
some future time, after the people shall have decided to do 
with me as they have a right to decide, it will afford me 
extreme pleasure to respond to the cordial invitation of my 
friends in Philadelphia. 


At 11 o'clock, Mr. Fillmore was escorted to the City Hall, 
where, in the Governor's Room, there were introductions 
and an address by the Mayor, to which Mr. Fillmore replied: 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 7 

Mr. Mayor: This unexpected and agreeable welcome 
from the great commercial emporium of the United States, 
leaves me without language to express the grateful emotions 
of my heart. I had hoped for a moment to have arranged 
my ideas, but, you know, as w r ell as others within the sound 
of my voice, that from the time I landed, I have scarcely 
found a minute for thought. It is, however, hardly neces- 
sary. I have known this city, and I thought appreciated its 
importance; but until I traversed Europe, I was not so 
sensible of the importance of this city to the United States, 
and the importance of the United States to this city. You 
have been pleased to refer to the fact that my public life had 
been of a conservative character, and I am free to admit that 
I regard this conservatism as the proudest principle I have 
been able to sustain. We have received from our fathers a 
Union and Constitution above all price and value, and that 
man who cannot sacrifice anything for the support of both is 
unworthy of his country. You, sir, know, for I have had 
the gratification of expressing it to you in person, how 
highly I appreciated the stand you took in sustaining the 
laws. You know better than I can express it, that liberty 
can only exist in obedience to law. That country which is 
governed by despotism instead of law, knows not liberty. I 
never was so strongly impressed with this as since my 

It has been my fortune to visit most of the principal 
cities on the Continent, where many of the Governments of 
Europe exercise their control over their subjects the same 
as the master exercises his power over the slave. No man 
is permitted to go without the walls of a city unless with a 
passport, nor enter another kingdom, without the same per- 
mission. I thank God, that when I stepped upon the shores 
of America my passport was not demanded. 

Sir, your beautiful bay has often been compared to that 
of Naples. I have had the good fortune to look at both. 
Italy with its sunny skies is a delightful region. Oh, that it 
had a government like ours and a people to maintain it. 
There are points of resemblance between the two bays, but 

8 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

when you look at the waters and the surrounding scenery, 
there the comparison ends. When I entered that city I was 
surrounded by swarms of beggars, but I no sooner stepped 
on shore here than I was surrounded by thousands of free- 
men. That is the difference between New York and Naples. 
Rome is in its decay. Venice once shone forth with more 
commercial splendor, perhaps, than New York does now ; 
but where is it, and what is Venice now but a waste in the 
midst of the ocean? New York has just emerged to great- 
ness, and if it would continue its onward march let our 
people remember the lessons taught them by our forefathers, 
that they must maintain the Constitution intact. 

If they do this they will find that this city has but com- 
menced its great commercial career. England at present 
wields the destinies of the commercial world, and her power 
is concentrated in London; but if this country can main- 
tain its union, there are those now within the hearing of my 
voice who will live to see New York what London is now. 
I congratulate you, sir, that you are the Chief Magistrate of 
this great city, and I congratulate my fellow-citizens that 
yon are equal to the burden imposed upon you. I also con- 
gratulate you, that no matter what may be your private 
feelings, you are determined to stand by the union of your 

Pardon me for these remarks — they are. desultory — but I 
speak with a sincere heart when I return you my most grate- 
ful thanks. 

In order to gratify the crowd that surrounded the build- 
ing, Mr. Fillmore complied with a request that he appear 
upon a balcony and speak to them. He said in effect : 

Fellow-Citizens : I have just passed over the storms 
of the ocean, but they were nothing compared to the sea of 
up-turned faces which I behold before me today. To make 
myself heard by you, would require a trumpet-toned voice 
and a throat of brass. I have just tendered my acknowledg- 
ments to your Mayor and Common Council for their recep- 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 9 

tion. I now tender to you, the sovereign people of this great 
city, my sincere and heartfelt thanks for this enthusiastic 
and unexpected greeting- which you have seen fit to bestow 
upon me, on my return to my native land. To this vast mul- 
titude I can say no more. Again I tender to you my warm- 
est acknowledgments. 

Later the same day he spoke to a procession of clubs 
which halted at his hotel and demanded a speech: 

Mr. Marshal: I beg leave, sir, to tender you and the 
gentlemen under your command, my most sincere thanks for 
the manner in which they have conducted themselves 
throughout the entire ceremony of the day. It is gratifying 
to me to see the streets of this vast metropolis crowded with 
freemen, with no other arms than those of Liberty and a . ] 

free Constitution. We have here no gens d'armes to compel 
us into submission and servitude. Here our freedom is 
guarded and protected by the ballot-box. It is gratifying to 
me to know that in this republican land of Liberty, it is not 
a requisite thing that your Chief Executive should be 
watched over every time he ventures in public, by a guard of 
gens d'armes. In this country he wants no other guard than 
that which is guaranteed to him by a free people. Permit 
me again to return my most sincere thanks to you for your 
kind reception today. 


In the evening the Whig General Committee, no in 
number, marched to the St. Nicholas, where Mr. Fillmore 
received them. The Hon. James Brooks, in a pleasant 
speech, presented his associates to the candidate. Mr. 
Fillmore replied : 

Gentlemen : I receive this congratulation with a mix- 
ture of pride and satisfaction. You have agreeably reminded 
me of the many hard-fought battles through which we have 

10 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

passed, and it has gratified me to look round upon the faces 
of those who have been so often associated with me in strug- 
gles for our common country. Though I now belong, sir, 
to the American party, which has grown out of the exi- 
gencies of the times, yet there is not, I hope and trust, that 
difference of sentiment between us which should alienate 
old friends. You have spoken, sir, of the defeat of Henry 
Clay, in 1844, and you have alluded to the cause of that 
defeat in our own State. There, gentlemen, was the wound 
inflicted that began the destruction of the Whig party. 
There was the canker worm that gnawed it to the heart, and 
subsequently carried it to the grave. The^e are painful 
reminiscences, all— and let them pass. I foresaw from that 
time that confidence was gone here in this State among the 
members of the Whig party, and that men could no longer 
act in harmony together, when such a noble spirit was sac- 
rificed to passion, or prejudice, or to any ambition that may 
have stood in its way. 

When in 1848, partly by the voice of the people, and . 
partly by that act of Providence, that took from us the then 
President-elect, 1 and shrouded the country in mourning, it 
so happened that I was without pledges, and was left to 
administer the Government — as it seemed to me — for the 
best interests of all demanded. Nothing prevented me from 
performing my duty to my country, and to all parts of that 
country, North as well as South. Thus, not only the Whigs, 
who elected me, rallied around me, but the Democratic party 
also, certainly that portion of it which was conservative, and 
which responded to my ardent efforts to administer the Gov- 
ernment for the good of all concerned. 

1. A curious jumble of misstatement and distorted meaning, which prob- 
ably Mr. Fillmore never uttered, but so it reads in every report of this speech 
the editor has seen. "The voice of the people" in 184^. may be understood to 
mean Mr. Fillmore's election as Vice-President; but the "act of Providence" 
that "shrouded the country in mourning" was not in 1848, but on July 0. 
1850, when General Taylor died; nor was he then "President-elect," but 
President in fact. Modern usage makes "President-elect" signify one who has 
been elected President, but not yet taken office. Mr. Fillmore more than once 
used the term, as here, to signify the President in active discharge of his 
office. Mr. Fillmore never was a precisian in his use of English — though he 
could set forth his ideas with perfect clearness. 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 11 

Should it be my lot again to occupy the Presidential 
chair. I trust not only to have the support of old line Whigs 
—the Whigs of 1840, '44 and '52 — but the support also of 
the old conservative elements of the Democratic party. 
They together carried my Administration through the try- 
ing scenes of 1850, and to them, in common with you, was 
I indebted for the order, peace, contentment and pi^perity 
I was thus, under Providence, enabled to give to our com- 
mon country. But I have said more than I intended, sir. 
I only wished to thank you, and those old Whigs whom I 
see around me, for thus extending to me their confidence 
and respect. 

At a late hour, called to the hotel balcony again by the 
clamor of a political club, Mr. Fillmore said: 

I have been told that this is the club which has just been 
sold out. If this be so, it is very clear, you who were sold 
out do not ratify the sale. But be not discouraged, my 
friends, by traitors. It was the lot of Americans in the con- 
test of 1776, to be sold out, as it is said you have been sold 
out now. But though there was an Arnold, there was also 
a Washington, and in spite of the traitor, Americans were 
safe. Have faith, my friends, be not discouraged. No 
treason, no traitors, can sell out Americans who are rallv- 
ing under the flag of their country, the Constitution and-the 


The next day (June 24th) Mr. Fillmore was the guest 
of the city of Brooklyn. At the City Flail, in response to 
the address of welcome by Mayor Hall, he said : 

Mr. Mayor: I receive this kind congratulation and wel- 
come from the city of Brooklyn, through its chief magis- 
trate, with no ordinary emotions. You have been pleased 
to say, sir, that you are no strangers to me. I am equally 
happy to be permitted to say that I am no stranger to the 
city of Brooklyn. I have watched its unusually rapid growth 

12 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

with a degree of interest that perhaps you may not appre- 
ciate. No city in this State has experienced so remarkable 
a growth, and I could not but think, as I passed through 
your streets, and looked at the palatial buildings by which 
they are adorned, that to European ears the announcement 
would seem incredible that this city numbers now nearly a 
quarter of a million of inhabitants, and that it has grown 
up to its present enormous size almost within the last half 
century. Europe exhibits no such example as this. Europe 
knows not the advantages of freedom and the benefits of 

Sir, you have been pleased to refer to the bones of those 
martyrs to the American cause who sleep within the vicinity 
where we now stand. Can it be possible — can reasonable 
men for a moment suspect — that the descendants of those 
martyrs could basely sacrifice the patrimony they inherited 
from their sires? No, gentlemen., you say truly, never! 
Remember the words of the great leader in the Revolution- 
ary war, George Washington. Remember that the advice 
which he gave to his fellow-citizens — his parting advice in 
his farewell address — was, to stand by the Union ; to frown 
upon every man, no matter what might be his pretensions, 
who should presume for one moment to say he was a 
patriot, and yet would do any act tending to dissolve this 
glorious Union. Sir, in speaking thus, I know I speak but 
the common sentiment of the American people. I am not 
willing to believe that there is one in this room who does not 
concur in the sentiments of Washington. 

But, sir, pardon me for again alluding to your beautiful 
city. I was struck with the order which prevailed today, 
without the aid of any despotic police regulations. Such a 
spectacle could not be met with in any city of Europe. You 
will see there at every step armed men ready with fixed 
bayonets to keep the peace. Here, in this free land, under 
this government of the people, where they make the laws 
through their representatives, and sustain them by their own 
might and power, no such gens (f amies are necessary to 
maintain order. Every man in this city, sir, regards him- 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 13 

self as specially deputed to keep the peace. This is one of 
the blessings of a free government. 

I was struck with another thing-, which is, that you have 
here a military array which would do honor to any city in 
the Union. It has been said that the fostering of the mili- 
tary spirit is unnecessary in time of peace, except as a 
preparation for war ; and although I am a man of peace 
myself, yet I am also a firm believer in the maxim of George 
Washington : "In time of peace prepare for war." There- 
fore, sir, I commend your city for its military spirit, by 
which I was so much gratified, and I congratulate you on 
the fact that you have such a noble corps of independent 
soldiers ready to discharge their duty in the maintenance of 
the law, if it be necessary, and still more to vindicate the 
honor of the nation should it be attacked. 

Sir, decency and propriety forbid that I should make any 
allusion to party politics on this occasion, and I am happy 
to hear you say that this reception is not tendered on party 
grounds, or because I happen accidentally to be a candidate 
for office. I should be unwilling to receive it if it were so; 
and its chief value is, that it is a voluntary offering to me, 
not as an individual, but because I have heretofore been 
honored by holding the office of Chief Magistrate of this 
great and mighty -nation. Though I cannot presume to 
appropriate it individually, yet if anything could add to the 
gratification of re-visiting my native land, it is, that I have 
been received by my fellow-citizens with sincere congratu- 
lations like the present. I feel prouder of this than of all 
the marks of distinction which have been showered on me 
by foreign monarchs and nobility. Although I do not under- 
estimate them, yet I prefer greatly the honor and regard of 
my own countrymen to all others in the world. As I value 
my own country above all others, so I value and esteem the 
congratulations of my countrymen above all others ; and, 
therefore, it is that, with heartfelt gratitude, I return to you, 
and, through you, to the city of Brooklyn, my cordial and 
sincere thanks for this public reception. 


Mr. John Jacobs, President of Washington Camp No. 2, 
Junior Sons of America, presented Mr. Fillmore with a 
gold-headed cane, engraved with the following inscription : 
''Presented to Hon. Millard Fillmore by Washington Camp 
No. 2, Junior Sons of America." Mr. Fillmore replied in 
substance as follows: 

Gentlemen of Washington Camp No 2, Junior Sons 
of America: This is not the time nor the place for me to 
allude to your appreciation of my public conduct. I can 
simply thank you on this occasion for this testimony of your 
regard, and I hope the time will never come when you will 
have reason to distrust my fidelity to the trust reposed in me 
by the American people. 

Mr. Fillmore was conducted by the Mayor and com- 
mittee, into the Chamber of the Board of Aldermen, "where 
had assembled some three or four hundred of Brooklyn's 
fair daughters." The guest was placed in the president's 
chair, and introduced to the ladies by Mayor Flail. Mr. 
Fillmore paid his compliments to them in the following 
terms : 

Ladies of Brooklyn: If I had sufficient voice and 
strength, I could speak in a fitting manner to you on this 
most pleasant and gratifying occasion. But this meeting- 
was altogether unexpected on the part of your committee 
and me, and indeed I was not even notified of their intent 
until I was ushered into your presence. I have, therefore, 
for once in my life, been taken completely by storm, without 
having had an opportunity, or even a moment's grace per- 
mitted me, in which to prepare any defence. But, ladies of 
Brooklyn, I am very proud to be met and surrounded by 
such a throng of intellect and beauty, as I see here present. 
I have always heard that America was celebrated for the 
beauty and superior intellect of her daughters, but I never 
~o much appreciated the truthfulness of this remark, as I 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 15 

have during my sojourn in foreign and distant lands. It is 
there that I first became convinced of the loveliness and 
intelligence of American beauty. I had always been told 

that Brooklyn was celebrated for two things above all 
others, the beauty of her daughters and the number of her 
churches ; but I never before so fully appreciated the justice 
and reality of that celebrity as at the present time. 

Ladies, allow me to conclude by thanking you most kindly 
for this very unexpected and, to me, most pleasant and 
agreeable reception by you. 


After he had concluded Mr. Fillmore was escorted to the 
Pierrepottt House, where he once more spoke in substance 
as follows : 

Fellow-Citizens: Until I looked upon this sea of up- 
turned faces, I did not think that Brooklyn contained so 
many Americans. I was astonished, and on passing through 
the city I could not help but ask those in the carriage with 
me if you were the residents of this city. I thought that a 
large portion of you must have come from New York, but 
it was not so. I wish I had words to express my feelings on 
this occasion, but I have not; all I can do is to thank you 
for this cordial welcome to your city, which is noted for its 
churches ; yes, and its Americans. I can hardly believe that 
any man born in America can possess other than an Ameri- 
can heart. Who of you is there here who would not be an 
American? I know not what your preference may be but 
I am satisfied that the country is safe in your hands and that 
you can never be induced to dissolve the Union. That of 
which I felt particularly proud, while in foreign countries, 
was the fact that I was an American. But, fellow-citizens, 
I must close; I did not intend to address you at much 
length, and I now beg leave to return you my sincere thanks 
for your kind and patriotic welcome of me to your beautiful 

16 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 



Fellow-Citizens oe Newburgh : Accept my cordial 
thanks for this hearty greeting. My friend has introduced 
me as the standard-bearer of the American party, and a 
friend of the Union. For the former position I am indebted 
to the partiality of my friends, who have without my solici- 
tation made me your standard-bearer in the contest for 
President, which has just commenced; but I confess to you 
that I am proud of the distinction, for I am an American, 
with an American heart. I confess that I am a devoted and 
unalterable friend of the Union. As an American, occupy- 
ing* the position I do before my countrymen, I have no hos- 
tility to foreigners. I trust T arn their friend. Having wit- 
nessed their deplorable condition in the old country, God 
forbid 1 should add to their sufferings by refusing them an 
asylum in this. I would open wide the gates and invite the 
oppressed of every land to our happy country, excluding 
only the pauper and criminal. I would be tolerant to men of 
all creeds, but would exact from all faithful allegiance to 
our republican institutions. But if any sect or denomination, 
ostensibly organized for religious purposes, should use that 
organization, or suffer it to be used, for political objects, I 
would mctt it by political opposition. In my view, Church 
and State should be separate, not only in form, but fact — 
religion and politics should not be mingled. 

While I did this, I would, for the sake of those who seek 
an asylum on our shores, as well as for our own sake, de- 
clare as a general rule, that Americans should govern 
America. I regret to say that men who come fresh from 
the monarchies of the old world, are prepared neither by 
education, habits of thought, or knowledge of our institu- 
tions, to govern America. The failure of every attempt to 
establish free government in Europe, is demonstrative of 
this fact; and if we value the blessings which Providence 
has so bounteously showered upon us, it becomes every 
American to stand by the Constitution and laws of his 

CAMPAIGN OP 1856. 17 

country, and to resolve that, independent of all foreign in- 
fluence, Americans will and shall rule America. 

I feel, fellow-citizens, that I need hardly allude to the 
importance of maintaining- this Union. I see the national 
flat;- floating from yonder height which marks the conse- 
crated spot of Washington's headquarters. There was per- 
formed an act of moral heroism before which the bravest 
deeds of Alexander pale, and with which the greatest 
achievements of Bonaparte are not to be compared. It was 
there, on that sacred spot, now shaded by the flag of a free 
republic, that Washington refused a crown. It was there 
that the officers of the army, after independence had been 
achieved, made him the offer of a crown, which he indig- 
nantly spurned. 1 am sure I need not urge upon you who 
live so near this hallowed spot, and in sight of that flag, the 
duty of observing in all your actions, the farewell advice of 
the Father of his Country, ''that you should cherish a cordial, 
habitual, and immovable attachment" to the Union 1 ; "accus- 
toming yourselves to think and speak of it as the palladium 
of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its 
preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing what- 
ever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event- 
be abandoned ; and indignantly frowning upon the first 
dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our 
country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which 
now link together the various parts." Again I thank you 
most sincerely for this unexpected and hearty welcome to 
my native State. 


At Poughkeepsie he said: 

It cannot be possible that the sons of our sires, who shed 
their blood for our liberties, would think seriously for one 

1. The phrase "to the Union" is not Washington's. Its equivalent in 
the Farewell Address is: "The unity of government which constitutes you one 
people"; and again: "It is of infinite moment that you should properly esti- 
mate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual 
happiness." Then follows the passage quoted by Mr. Fillmorr. 

18 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

moment of attempting- to form themselves into any sectional 
organization that has for its object the dissolution of this 
free republic. It behooves us to hold well to the councils 
of the Father of our Country ; to distrust all persons who by 
their acts cause dissension and bickering - , or who advise any 
dividing line in our common country. Following the in- 
structions of Washington, we cannot but distrust all who 
would by their acts attempt to array the North against the 
South, or the South against the North, or to create sectional 
parties and thus be the means of inciting civil dissensions 
among us themselves. 


AT ALBANY, JUNE 26, 1856 

Mr. Mayor and Fellow-Citizens : This overwhelming- 
demonstration of congratulation and welcome almost de- 
prives me of the power of speech. Here, nearly thirty years 
ago, I commenced my political career. In this building x I 
first saw a legislative body in session — but at that time it 
never entered into the aspirations of my heart that I should 
ever receive such a welcome as this in the capital of my 
native State. 

You have been pleased, sir, to allude to my former ser- 
vices and my probable course if I should be again called to 
the position of chief magistrate, of the nation. It is not 
pleasant to speak of one's self, yet I trust that the occasion 
will justify me in briefly alluding to one or two events con- 
nected with my last Administration. You all know that, 
when I was called to the Executive chair, by a bereavement 
which overwhelmed the nation with grief, the country was 
unfortunately agitated from one end to the other, upon the 
all-exciting subject of slavery. It was then, sir, that I felt 
it my duty to rise above every sectional prejudice, and look 
to the welfare of the whole nation. I was compelled to a 
certain extent to overcome long-cherished prejudices, and 
disregard party claims. But in doing this, sir, I did no more 
than was done by many abler and better men than myself. 
I was by no means the sole instrument, under Providence, 
in harmonizing these difficulties. There were at that time 
noble, independent, high-souled men in both houses of Con- 

i. The old State House, at the head of State street, torn down when 
the present Capitol was begun. 

20 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

gress, belonging to both the great political parties of the 
country — Whigs and Democrats — who spurned the charac- 
ter of selfish party leaders, and rallied around my Adminis- 
tration in support of the great measures which restored 
peace to an agitated and distracted country. By the bless- 
ings of Divine Providence, our efforts were crowned with 
signal success and when I left the Presidential chair, the 
whole nation was prosperous and contented, and our rela- 
tions with all foreign nations were of the most amicable 
kind. The cloud that hung upon the horizon was dissipated. 

Where are we now? Alas! threatened at home with 
civil war, and from abroad with a rupture of our peaceful 
relations. I shall not seek to trace the causes of this change. 
These are the facts, and it is for you to ponder upon them. 
Of the present Administration I hai^e nothing to say, and 
can appreciate the difficulties of administering this Govern- 
ment; and if the present Executive and his supporters have, 
with good intention and honest hearts, made a mistake, I 
hope God may forgive them as I do. But if there be those 
who have brought these calamities upon the country for 
selfish or ambitious objects, it is your dttty. fellow-citizens, 
to hold them to a strict responsibility. 

The agitation which disturbed the peace of the country in 
1850 was unavoidable. It was brought upon us by the 
acquisition of new territory, for the government of which it 
was necessary to provide territorial administrations. But 
it is for you to say whether the present agitation, which dis- 
tracts the country and threatens us with civil war, has not 
been recklessly and wantonly produced by the adoption of a 
measure to aid in personal advancement, rather than in any 
public good. 

Sir, you have been pleased to say that I have the union 
of these states at heart. This, sir, is most true, for if there 
be one object dearer to me than any other, it is the unity, 
prosperity, and glory of this great republic, and I confess 
frankly, sir, that I fear it is in danger. I say nothing of any 
particular section, much less of the several candidates before 
the people. I presume they are all honorable men. But, 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 21 

sir, what do we see? An exasperated feeling between the 
North and the South, on the most exciting of all topics, re- 
stfltrng in bloodshed and organized military array. But this 
is not all, sir. We see a political party presenting candidates 
for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, selected for the 
first time from the free States alone, with the avowed pur- 
pose of electing those candidates by suffrages of one part of 
the Union only, to rule over the whole United States. Can 
it be possible that those who are engaged in such a measure 
can have seriously reflected upon the consequences which 
must inevitably follow, in case of success? Can they have 
the madness or the folly to believe that our Southern breth- 
ren would submit to be governed by such a chief magistrate? 
Would he be required to follow the. same rule prescribed by 
those who elected him in making his appointments? If a 
man living south of Mason and Dixon's line be not worthy 
to be President or Vice-President, would it be proper to 
select one from the same quarter, as one of his Cabinet- 
council, or to represent the nation in a foreign country ! Or, 
indeed, to collect the revenue, or administer the laws of the 
United States? If not, what new rule is the President to 
adopt in selecting men for office, that the people themselves 
discard in selecting him? 

These are serious, but practical questions, and in order 
to appreciate them fully, it is only necessary to turn the 
tables upon ourselves. Suppose that the South, having a 
majority of the electoral votes, should declare that they 
would only have slaveholders for President and Vice-Presi- 
dent, and should elect such by their exclusive suffrages to 
rule over us at the North ! Do you think we would submit 
to it? No, not for a moment. And do you believe that your 
Southern brethren are less sensitive on this subject than 
you are, or less jealous of their rights? If you do, let me 
tell you that you are mistaken. And, therefore, you must 
see that if this sectional party succeeds, it leads inevitably 
to the destruction of this beautiful fabric reared by our 
forefathers, cemented by their blood, and bequeathed to us, 
a priceless inheritance. I tell you, my friends, that I speak 

22 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

warmly on this subject, as J feel that we are in danger. 1 
am determined to make a clean breast of it. I will wash in)* 
hands of the consequences, whatever they may be ; and I 
tell you that we are treading upon the brink of a volcano, 
that is liable at any .moment to burst forth and overwhelm 
the nation. I might, by soft words, hold out delusive hopes, 
and thereby win votes. But I can never consent to be one 
thing to the North and another to the South. I should 
despise myself if I could be guilty of such evasion. For my 
conscience would still ask, with the dramatic poet: 

Is there not some chosen curse, 
Some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven, 
Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man 
Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin?" 1 

In the language of the lamented, immortal Clay, "I 
would rather be right than be President." It seems to me 
impossible that those engaged in this, can have contemplated 
the awful consequences of success. If it breaks asunder 
the bonds of our Union, and spreads anarchy and civil war 
through the land, what is it less than moral treason? Law 
and common sense hold a man responsible for the natural 
consequences of his acts, and must not those whose acts tend 
to the destruction of the Government, be equally held respon- 
sible? And let me also add, that when this Union is dis- 
solved, it will not be divided into two republics or two mon- 
archies, but broken into fragments, at war with each other. 

But, fellow-citizens, I have perhaps said all that was 
necessary on this subject, and I turn with pleasure to a less 
important, but more agreeable topic. It has been my for- 
tune during my travels in Europe to witness, once or twice, 
the reception of royalty, in all the pomp and splendor of mili- 
tary array, where the music was given to order and the 
cheers at word of command. But, for myself, I prize the 
honest spontaneous throb of affection with which you have 
welcomed me back to my native State above all the pageants 
which royalty can display. Therefore with a heart overflow r - 

1. Addison's "Cato." 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 23 

iru; with grateful emotions, I return you a thousand thanks, 
and bid you adieu. 


At several towns, as lie crossed the State, Mr. Fillmore 
spoke, for the most part reiterating sentiments already 
recorded. At Rochester, on the 27th, on the balcony of the 
Eagle Hotel, replying to an elaborate address by Roswell 
Mart, Mr. Fillmore spoke at greater length than at any time 
since leaving Albany. 

After returning his thanks for the manner in which he 
had been received, and for the flattering terms in which the 
chairman had been pleased to speak of his Administration, 
Mr. Fillmore said that he had no reason to disguise his sen- 
timents on the subject of the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise, which seemed to be the chief source of the unfor- 
tunate agitation that now disturbed the peace of the country, 
lie said that it would be recollected., that when he came into 
the Administration, the country was agitated from center to 
circumference with the exciting subject of slavery. This 
question was then forced upon the country by the acquisi- 
tion of new territory; and he feared that the eloquent ad- 
dress of the chairman had given him more credit for the 
settlement of that question than he was entitled to — not 
more, however, than he would have deserved, had his power 
equaled his desires. But the truth was, that many noble 
patriots, Whigs and Democrats, in both Houses of Congress, 
rallied around and sustained the Administration in that try- 
ing time, and to them was chiefly due the merit of settling 
that exciting controversy. 

Those measures, usually called the Compromise Measures 
of 1850, were not in all respects what I could have desired, 
but they were the best that could be obtained, after a pro- 
tracted discussion, that shook the republic to its very foun- 
dation : and I felt bound to give them my official approval. 
Not only this, but perceiving there was a disposition to 

i. It was Augustus Chester Dodge, Senator from Iowa, who on Decem- 
ber 14, 1853, introduced in the United States Senate "a bill to organize the 
Territory of Nebraska." Although originally containing no reference to slav- 
ery, this bill by amendment became the famous Kansas.-Nebraska bill, which 
President Pierce signed on May 30, 1854- Although known as the Dodge 
bill, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise which was achieved under this 
famous measure was due more to Stephen A. Douglas than to Dodge or any 
other of his coadjutors in that memorable issue. 

24 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

renew the agitation at the next session, I took the responsi- 
bility of declaring, in substance, in my annual Message, that 
I regarded these measures as a "final settlement of this 
question, and that the laws just passed ought to be main- 
tained until time and experience should demonstrate the 
necessity of modification or repeal." 

I then thought that this exciting subject was at rest, and 
that there would be no further occasion to introduce it into 
the legislation of Congress. Territorial governments had 
been provided for all the territory except that covered by 
the Missouri Compromise, and I had no suspicion that it was 
to be disturbed. I have no hesitation in saying, what most 
of you know already, that I was decidedly opposed to the 
repeal of that Compromise. Good faith, as well as the 
peace of the country, seemed to require, that a compromise 
that had stood for more than thirty years should not be 
wantonly disturbed. These were my sentiments then, fully 
and freely expressed, verbally and in writing, to all my 
friends, North and South, who solicited my opinion. 

This repeal seems to have been a Pandora's box, out of 
which have issued all the political evils that now afflict the 
country, scarcely leaving a hope behind, and many, I per- 
ceive, are ready to impute all the blame to our Southern 
brethren. But is this just? It must be borne in mind that 
this measure originated with a Northern Senator, 1 and was 
sustained and sanctioned by a Northern President. I do not 
recollect that even a single petition from a Southern State 
solicited this repeal ; and it must be remembered that when 
a Northern Administration, with large numbers of Northern 
senators and Northern members, offered the Southern 
States a boon. Southern members of Congress could not, if 
they would, safely refuse it. To refuse what seemed a boon, 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 25 

would have been to sacrifice themselves, and this is certainly 
expecting too much from political men in times like these. 
The blame, therefore, it appears to me, with all due def- 
erence, is chiefly chargeable to those who originated this 
measure : and however we may deplore the act, it affords no 
just ground for controversy with our Southern brethren — 
certainly none for which they could be deprived of their 
political rights. 

But we now see a party organized in the North, and for 
the first time selecting its candidates exclusively from the 
Northern States, with the avowed intention of electing them 
to govern the South as well as the North. By what rule is 
a President, thus elected, to select a Cabinet-council, his 
foreign ministers, judges and administrative officers? Are 
they also to be selected exclusively from the North? Or 
may you take a Cabinet officer from the South, though you 
cannot a President or a Vice-President? These, in practice, 
as I have said on another occasion, must become embar- 
rassing questions. The North is, beyond all question, the 
most populous, the most wealthy, and has the most votes, 
and therefore has the power to inflict this injustice upon 
the South. We can best judge of its consequences by re- 
versing the case. Suppose that the South was the most 
populous, the most wealthy, and possessed the greatest 
number of electoral votes, and that it should declare that, 
for some fancied or real injustice done at the North, it 
would elect none but a President and Vice-President of 
slaveholders from the South to rule over the North. Do 
you think, fellow-citizens, you would submit to this injus- 
tice? No, truly, you would not; but one universal cry of 
No would rend the skies! And can you suppose your 
Southern brethren less sensitive than yourselves, or less 
jealous of their rights? If you do, let me tell you that you 
are mistaken — and you must therefore perceive that the 
success of such a party, with such an object, must be the 
dissolution of this glorious Union. I am unwilling to be- 
lieve that those who are engaged in this strife can foresee 
the consequences of their own acts. Why should not the 

26 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

golden rule which our Saviour has prescribed for our inter- 
course with each other, be applied to the intercourse between 
these fraternal States? Let us do unto them as we would 
that they should do unto us in like, circumstances. They are 
our brethren — they are our friends, and we are all embarked 
in the same ship ; and if she founders in consequence of the 
mismanagement of the crew, we must all go down together ; 
this Union must be torn asunder — this beautiful fabric, 
reared by the hands of our ancestors, must be scattered in 
fragments, and the people, in the language of the eloquent 
address of your chairman, be converted into a nation of 
Ishmaelites. I cannot contemplate such a scene without 
horror, and I turn from it with loathing and disgust. 

I fear that your chairman anticipates too much when he 
supposes it would be in my power, if elected to the Presi- 
dency, to restore harmony to the country. All T can say is, 
that in such an event. I should be willing to make every 
sacrifice, personal and political, to attain so desirable an 
object. But I can never consent to be the President of one 
portion of this nation as against the other. 1 can give no 
pledge for the future that is not found in my past conduct. 
If you wish a Chief Magistrate to administer the Constitu- 
tion and laws impartiallv in every part of the Union. gdvin^ 
to every State, and every Territory, and every citizen, his 
just due, without fear or favor, then you may cast your 
votes for me. I repeat here, what I have said elsewhere, 
that if there be those at the North who want a President to 
rule the South — if there be those at the South who want a 
President who will rule the North — I do not want their 
votes. I can never represent them. I stand upon the broad 
platform of the Constitution and the laws. If I should be 
called upon to administer the Government, the Constitution 
and laws of the country shall be executed, at every hazard 
and at every cost. 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 27 


At Albion, in response to a speech of welcome by John 
H. White, Mr. Fillmore returned his acknowledgments, and 
said that there were peculiar relations existing between him 
and his friends in that beautiful village. 

It was they, more than ten years ago, who first coupled 
his name with the highest office in the land. He never had, 
and never should cease to remember the fact with peculiar 
gratification and pride. In reference to the confidence which 
they had been pleased to express in him now, as well as the 
satisfaction with which they regarded his acts while adminis- 
tering the affairs of the Government, he would say that 
when he entered upon the discharge of the high duties of 
President, he found the country convulsed on the exciting 
topic of slavery. A series of measures calculated to restore 
peace — yet not in all respects what he would have been glad 
to have seen passed by Congress — were enacted, and he felt 
it his solemn duty to give them his sanction. It was not by 
the influence of any one man, or of any one party, that those 
healing measures were carried through : it was by the aid 
of national men and conservatives of all parties — of Whigs 
and Democrats — that the country was again restored to 
peace, and to them equally belonged the credit. He then 
fully hoped that peace would not be disturbed. But on his 
return to his country, he found it convulsed again, and 
threatened with the direst consequences, through the repeal 
of those measures, and the breaking down of a compromise 
that had cost so much labor and anxiety. 

Mr. Fillmore said it had been truly remarked that while 
abroad, he had had the opportunity to compare other coun- 
tries with his own; and he could say that nowhere did he 
find a country that could compare with Western New York, 
with your own Orleans County. Nowhere else is there so 
much intelligence, so much virtue, so much industry, so 
much solid prosperity as here. He had seen much of Italy, 
where a priesthood denied the people Liberty and the Bible 

28 . CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

— where they were lowered and crushed beneath a despotism 
that was strongest where the people were least educated. 
"Be thankful, therefore, thy friends," said Mr. Fillmore, 
"that you are permitted to live in this happy land; and be 
vigilant — ever watchful — that internal dissensions, or mis- 
governments, do not divide you into fragments and destroy 
your prosperity.' 7 


At Lockport, in answer to an address by ex-Governor 
Washington Hunt, Mr. Fillmore spoke at length. 

He said that he received this tender of the congratulations 
of the citizens of Niagara County on his return to his native 
land, through the distinguished citizen acting as their organ, 
with feelings of gratitude and pride. If anything could add 
to the pleasure he experienced in treading once again his 
native soil, it was the universal expression of friendship 
with which his countrymen had received him back again to 
their midst. His chief source of gratification, however, lay 
in meeting: those whom he could regard as neighbors as well 
as friends ; with whom his life had been spent ; who had 
known him from his boyhood, and had watched his career 
since his earliest days. 

Their distinguished fellow-citizen had been pleased to 
refer in flattering terms to certain acts of his Administra- 
tion, and he should therefore be excused for alluding to 
those acts himself. It had been his earnest hope, as it cer- 
tainly was his expectation, that the measures which had 
been passed during his term of office with the design of 
allaying the agitation then existing on the exciting subject 
of slavery, would have been received as a finality by all, and 
have proved effectual in the accomplishment of that object. 
He regretted extremely that those who succeeded him in the 
Administration had thought proper, by disturbing existing 
compromises, to reopen the wounds so recently healed, and 
again to shake the country from the center to the circum- 
ference with the same deplorable agitation. 'Hie disturb- 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 29 

.■-ice of a compromise that had existed for more than thirty 
years, he deeply deplored. The evils it had entailed upon 
the country were known to all, and he could only hope that 
the authors of those evils had not foreseen the consequences 
of their policy. 

He deprecated any interference on the part of a State 
with the affairs of any other State or Territory. He be- 
lieved that the States and Territories of the Union, like the 
Union itself, require no foreign influence in their govern- 
ment from any source whatever. He looked upon the people 
of this Republic as being able to govern themselves; and 
there was sound sense in the saying that they were best 
governed when least governed. He deplored the sectional 
policy that had been adopted by important political parties 
at the present time, and could only place his trust in the 
sterling patriotism and sound sense of the. people, to avert 
the calamities which sectional agitation must always entail 
upon a country. Every reasoning man must see that the 
-access of parties having their origin in avowed hostility to 
either section of the Union, can tend only to the destruction 
of those institutions, of which all are so proud, and of that 
Union so dear to every American heart. 


At Tonawanda, in response to an enthusiastic greeting, 
Mr. Fillmore said: 

Ladies and Gentlemen : I am very happy to see you. I 
am very happy to be received on my return from abroad, by 
such a kindly greeting on the part of the citizens of Tona- 
wanda. I know not and care not what are your political 
sentiments ; but one thing I do know — that you are all 
Americans, and that as such I may address you. I am con- 
fident that, living on the borders as you do here, you are all 
true and staunch friends of your country. I trust that no 
such calamity will befall us as a war with England : but if, 
in the course of events, we should be driven to hostility with 
the country of our neighbor, we shall, I know, always find 

30 CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 

the borderers ready to defend the territory and the honor of 
America. I did not expect this kind greeting from the 
citizens of Tonavvanda, or 3 should probably have been pre- 
pared with some more fitting words of thanks. As it is, I 
can but assure you of my gratitude for your kindness. If I 
cannot call you all neighbors, yet we live so near to each 
other that I recognize among you faces that I have known 
for many years. I wish you all prosperity and happiness, 
and for the present I wish you, also, farewell. 



JUNE 28, 1856 

Mr. Fillmore's arrival in Buffalo was, naturally, the occa- 
sion of a tremendous demonstration. The municipality had 
long been preparing for it. A great parade was held, with 
military and civic features, with ''fairies" and ilowers, music 
and salutes of cannon. Mr. Fillmore was conducted to a 
stand that had been erected in Niagara Square, and there he 
was welcomed home in a stirring speech by the Hon. Henry 
W. Rogers. Mr. Fillmore said in reply : 

Friends and Fellow-Citizens: I receive this eloquent 
congratulation upon my return, from your appointed organ, 
with no ordinary sentiment of gratitude, and I return you 
my heartfelt thanks for this beautiful and gratifying wel- 
come to my home. No man, unless he has been separated 
from those he loves most dearly and from a country that 
he values above price, can tell how sweet it is to revisit his 
home and friends, after a long absence in a strange land and 
among strange people. While wandering, sir, over the 
various countries of Europe, looking at the fertile fields in 
some parts, and at those which are blighted and deserted in 
others ; witnessing here the pomp and splendor of the regal 
courts, and there the squalid poverty and the bitter suffer- 
ings of too many of the people, my mind has often turned 
with fond yearning to my home in Western New York ; and 
I have longed for the opportunity of once more beholding 
this beautiful Queen City of the Empire State and of breath- 
ing again the fresh and invigorating air which blows from 
her lake. 


I receive your congratulations, my fellow-citizens, a^ 
friends, and not as politicians. I need not, however, dis- 
guise the fact, for it has not been disguised by my eloquent 
friend who has welcomed me, that it has been my fate to fdl 
the highest office in the gift of this great Republic; and I 
cannot doubt that the fact had much to do in producing the 
vast congregation I now see before me, and in prompting 
this pleasing demonstration on my return among you. In- 
deed. I can account for it in no other way. It is true, I did 
hope there were those who had an affectionate regard for 
me in the city of my residence ; but could I ever conceive 
that I should be the recipient of such congratulations as 
these — that I should behold such a sight as this on my 
return ? 

My friend who has so eloquently addressed me, has made 
reference to my early history ; I trust, therefore, that I may 
be pardoned for the apparent egotism of alluding myself to 
that subject. My career has been quite as miraculous and 
mysterious to myself as it can be to any other. I came to 
this city thirty-five years ago, a boy — a mere stripling — for 
the purpose of finishing my education, and fitting myself for 
the practice of the law. When I had received my diploma, 
I had not the confidence to commence my career here. I 
saw men around me in the profession, of marked ability and 
distinguished position, and I must confess that a want of 
confidence in myself deterred me from entering the profes- 
sional arena with such competitors. I went, therefore, into 
a village to pursue my occupation of the law. I labored 
there as long as Jacob did for Rachel, and then I ventured 
back to the city. From that day to this my fortunes, my 
fellow-citizens, have been bound up in yours; and if any- 
thing in my subsequent career has reflected honor upon 
myself, it has reflected the same honor upon you. 

There is one recollection that above all others is prized 
by me. Although I have often been a party candidate for 
public office, and opposed, and very properly opposed, by 
those who hold political opinions different from my own, it is 
due to them, as well as to myself, to say that while I have 

f: ■■--.. 










S-. ■.•.—--' 



fe a 


From a Fhotoghaph in the Possession of the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 

CAMPAIGN OF 1856. 33 

represented you all for eleven years in legislative bodies, no 
act that I ever did- -no vote that I ever gave --received the 
censure of my political opponents. It is due to them to say 
that I feel gratitude to them in my heart ; and that this con- 
sideration formed no little inducement to me to return to 
Buffalo, where I shall probably end my days. 

Your eloquent chairman has alluded to the fact that I 
have been travelling for some time in a foreign country. It 
has been my fortune, or misfortune, while there, to see 
royalty on several occasions, when it has called forth such 
enthusiasm as it can command ; but you must pardon me for 
saying that though I have heard the cheers given to order, 
and the music made to command, that mark such demon- 
strations there, I yet feel prouder at this spontaneous ex- 
pression of a people with whom I have spent thirty years of 
my life, than I should to be received as Queen Victoria was 
received in Paris by the French nation. I regard this, my 
friends, as the proudest day of my life. I feel, indeed, so 
overwhelmed by your kindness that I can scarcely give ut- 
terance to my feelings. Exhausted as I am by a week of 
continued excitement, following close upon a fatiguing sea- 
voyage, I can only say to you that you have my cordial, 
grateful thanks for the warm-hearted reception you have 
given me; and next to my gratitude to that Divine Provi- 
dence that has guided me in my journey, and brought me 
safely to its end, is my gratitude to you, my fellow-citizens, 
who have made my return to my home so doubly pleasant. 

May heaven bless you all, and reward you as you deserve, 
and may I be permitted to remain with you until I sleep 
here the sleep of death; for to you, and to you alone, my 
friends and fellow-citizens, I trust my reputation and my 
happiness hereafter. 




1841 TO 1873 


President William H. Harrison died April 4, 1841. At a 
meeting of the citizens of Buffalo, April 13th, Mr. Fillmore 
being called upon by the chair to announce the objects of 
the meeting, "'rose and spoke nearly in the following words'*: 

Mr. Chairman: At your request, I arise with more sor- 
row than language can express, to announce the objects of 
this meeting. I regret that a hesitancy between the city 
authorities and citizens, as to which should move first, has 
delayed it so long. We have all heard the painful, heart- 
rending intelligence of the death of the Chief Magistrate of 
these United States. But a few short weeks since, I saw 
this venerable man in the vigor of health, standing as it 
were, at the altar of his country, surrounded by the rep- 
resentatives of foreign nations, and thousands and tens of 
thousands of his own fellow-citizens, to dedicate himself to 
his country's service. Methinkslnow see his venerable form, 
I hear his strong, clear and emphatic voice, as he appeals 
to God in taking the solemn oath prescribed by the Consti- 
tution — and the joyous acclamations of the assembled mul- 
titude, that rent the skies, still ring in my ears. But alas! 
how transient is all worldly glory — how vain are all human 
hopes. This idol of a nation's admiration, this object of a 
nation's aspirations, is no more. William Henry Harrison, 
the hero, the statesman and the patriot, who has inscribed 
his name on the brightest page of our history, sleeps the 
sleep of death. 

37 - f c 



Every paper conies clad in the dark shade of mourning — 
every countenance hears the impress of sorrow and bereave- 
ment, and every breeze swells with the anguish of a sorrow- 
ing nation. All political strife is hushed — all party malice 
lies buried in the grave of the deceased. 

The ways of Providence are inscrutable. As mortals, as 
Christians, we bow to this awful dispensation without a 
murmur. Heaven only knows why it was best. Our duty 
is not to inquire, but submit. May it not have been to teach 
a lesson of humility and moderation — to soften the asperity 
of political warfare, and chasten the inordinate longings of 
ambition ? 

But this is no time to moralize, or speak of the merits of 
the deceased. All hearts are now rilled with grief. I hope 
that some person present may be prepared with some reso- 
lutions expressive of the sense of*this meeting on this mel- 
ancholy occasion — and some suggestions as to the most 
proper mode of testifying our respect for the virtues of the 
deceased, and our sorrow at this national calamity. 



When it was known that ex-President Adams would 
visit Buffalo in July, 1843, a citizens' committee was organ- 
ized to arrange for a suitable reception. Mr. Fillmore's 
name headed the list. On July 26th, the Buffalo deputation 
met Mr. Adams at Schlosser, above Niagara Falls, accom- 
panied him by boat to Buffalo and escorted him to the Park, 
now Lafayette Square, where Mr. Fillmore welcomed him 
to the city in the following words : 

Sir: I have been deputed by the citizens of this place to 
tender you a welcome to our city. In the discharge of this 
grateful duty, I feel that I speak not only my own senti- 
ments, but theirs, when I tell yon that your long and arduous 
public services, your lofty independence, your punctilious 
attention to business, and, more than all, your unsullied and 
unsuspected integrity, have given you a character in the esti- 
mation of this republic, which calls forth the deepest feel- 
ings of veneration and respect. 

You see around you, sir, no political partisans seeking to 
promote some sinister purpose ; but you see here assembled 
the people of our infant city, without distinction of party, 
sex, age or condition, all — all — anxiously vying with each 
other to show their respect and esteem for your public ser- 
vices and private worth. 

Here, sir, are gathered in this vast multitude of what 
must appear to you strange faces, thousands whose hearts 
have vibrated to the chord of sympathy which your written 


speeches have touched. Here are reflecting age, and ardent 
youth, and lisping childhood, to all of whom your venerated 
name is as familiar as household words — all anxious to 
feast their eyes by a sight of thai extraordinary and vener- 
able man of whom they have heard and read and thought so 
much — all anxious to hear the voice of that "old man elo- 
quent," on whose lips wisdom has distilled her choicest 
nectar. Here, sir, you see them all, and read in their eager 
and joy-gladdened countenances and brightly beaming eyes, 
a welcome — a thrice-told, heartfelt, and soul-stirring wel- 
come to "the man whom they delight to honor." 

Ex-President Adams spoke at length in reply and for 
twenty-four hours was the recipient of many attentions from 
the people of Buffalo, with Mr. Fillmore as chief host. 



A meeting of the citizens of Buffalo was held in the 
Court House on the evening of February 15, 1847, t0 con " 
sider measures of relief for Ireland. Gains B. Rich pre- 
sided, and among the speakers was Mr. Fillmore, whose 
remarks were reported by the Commercial Advertiser as 
follows : 

Mr. President: I came here to listen, not to speak. I 
am satisfied in regard to the great question now before the 
meeting. I accord the value, the valor, the wisdom of the 
Irish people, but we are called upon to take active measures 
to relieve the distress that now exists throughout the length 
and breadth of that country, and the outstretched arms of 
suffering millions are imploring us to save life. The only 
question is, what can we do, and how do it? 

No one can doubt the existence of great want and suffer- 
ing — it is corroborated by the Queen's speech — by the 
English and Irish papers ; and I venture to say that within 
the recollection of the oldest person present, no such cir- 
cumstance lias ever before occurred. It is sufficient for 
every man who has a heart to feel, that men, women and 
children are dying of hunger. It may be found that the aid 
may not reach those who are now in great destitution — it 
may arrive too late — but it is more than probable that the 
terrible state of things which now exists may continue for 
months. All we can do ought promptly to be done, for the 
relief afforded by us will be the means of saving many 
valuable lives. 

A course has been pursued in Albany, I understand, 
whereby provisions may safely reach those for whom they 



are intended, and the next question is, bow shall we con- 
tribute? It occurred to me that money should be converted 
into provisions. I am astonished that the warehouses in 
Ireland should he groaning under the weight of breadstufTs 
now locked up within her walls, while millions of her people 
are dying from absolute starvation. This, in my opinion, is 
conclusive that we ought to invest the money contributed, 
into food and clothing, and transmit direct. What I can 
do, I stand ready to do. The people of Ireland are sepa- 
rated from us by an ocean, to be sure, but they are neverthe- 
less a part of the human family, and justly entitled to our 
sympathy and aid. 1 

i. Some eleven hundred dollars was subscribed at the meeting, Mr. Fill- 
more's contribution being $50. 

■ ' 



At the first annual commencement of the University of 
Buffalo, June 16, 1847, ^ r - Fillmore, the Chancellor — as he 
continued to be for more than a quarter-century — delivered 
an address of which the following extracts are preserved : 

Fellow-Citizens: Urged by pressing solicitations of the 
Medical Faculty of the University of Buffalo, I have reluct- 
antly consented to address a few words to you on this inter- 
esting occasion. My official relations to this institution are 
such that I do not presume to possess that intimate practical 
knowledge of the progress of its students or their various 
qualifications, which can be known only to the faculty and 
the professors. But to those of you who have been so for- 
tunate as to make the acquaintance of the latter, and witness 
their proficiency, learning and unwearied assiduity in teach- 
ing, nothing which I could say could add to your high esti- 
mation of their ability and worth. As a body, they arc 
doubtless equal to that of any other faculty in the Union, 
and they only require the requisite time and our cordial and 
united support, to render the medical department of this 
university as celebrated as any oilier similar college in the 
United States. 

This, then, is a new era for the citizens of Buffalo. This 
is the first time we have ever been called upon to witness the 
interesting ceremony of conferring the time-honored degrees 
of a collegiate course. Here for the first time we see assem- 
bled the officers and professors of a literary institution, 
located in our midst, and destined we trust to shed its liter- 


ary and scientific blessings, not only upon the youth of our 
own prosperous city, but upon those of the surrounding 
country and adjacent States. While the patriot and the 
scholar will rejoice at the brilliant prospect that opens before 
us, let us mingle our congratulations, and revert for a mo- 
ment to the history of the past before we contemplate the 
bright prospect of the future. 

Those of us who have known this city for the last twenty 
years, have seen it rise from a small village of less than 
5,000 inhabitants, contending for years for its very exist- 
ence against a rival locality at Black Rock, to a proud and 
enterprising city of 30.000, with a fair prospect of doubling 
its population every ten years for a century to come. But 
while our fortunate location has attracted multitudes to 
swell our population, whose industry has built and adorned 
our city, and whose enterprise and wealth have spread our 
commerce over the great inland seas of the West, our 
literary institutions, and especially those of a higher char- 
acter, have been sadly neglected. This, though much to be 
regretted, seemed a necessary consequence of our society 
and pursuits. Our population was composed of poor but 
enterprising young men, who seemed to have been drawn 
to this point by some invisible magnet. The town itself, 
like the fabled phoenix of antiquity, had just risen from the 
ashes of desolation, marked by the footprints of a conquer- 
ing and savage foe. Individual enterprise exhausted its en- 
ergies in private pursuits to provide the necessaries of life, 
or to accommodate the fancied stores of future ease and 
luxury. Society was not yet formed. The aggregate mate- 
rials lacked that necessary cement which nothing but time, 
leisure and social intercourse can impart. Hence, few public 
enterprises, which required a union of sentiment and capital 
were undertaken. The union of sentiment could not be had, 
for each was intent upon his own object, and the union of 
wealth could not be had, for it did not exist ; it was yet to be 

During the years of 1S35 and '36, a fancied increase in 
the value of real estate, in this city, induced many an indi- 


vidua] to believe himself independently rich. 1 I recur to 
these day-dreams of ejdiaustless wealth, not to show how 
the miser, in anticipation, gloated over his hoarded treasure; 
or the reckless profligate, valuing it only as it enabled him 
to gratify his appetites, plunged soul and body in ruin; but 
for a far more gratifying purpose. I recur to it now to 
show that there were those then among us, who duty appre- 
ciated the blessings of wealth, because they estimated rightly 
its use. 

In 1836, a charter was procured by some of these men, 
incorporating the Western University, to be located in the 
city of Buffalo. And during the summer of that year the 
books were opened and subscriptions were made, endowing 
six or seven professorships at $15,000 each, and $12,000 or 
$15,000 were also subscribed to the general fund; and a 
building lot was conditionally presented by one of our 
wealthiest citizens, Judge Walden, near the barracks. 2 

It is true that before this splendid scheme could be carried 
out, the times changed, the value of property fell — many 
that supposed themselves rich became poor, and all suddenly 
awoke to the sad' reality that neither the hopes of avarice nor 
of magnanimous generosity, could be realized — that this 
fancied wealth, and all the bright visions of selfish gratifica- 
tion or public benefaction founded thereon, had faded away 

"... the unsubstantial fabric of a dream." 

As a necessary consequence this splendid project failed. 
But yet. a just meed of praise is due to those who made the 
generous attempt — who proffered their wealth when they 
thought they had it, though an unexpected reverse of for- 
tune deprived them of the pleasure of bestowing, and the 
public of the advantage of receiving, their intended bounty. 

1. See "The Speculative Craze of 1836," by Guy H. Salisbury, Buffalo 
Historical Society Publications, Vol. IV. 

2. The Poinsett Barracks, the United States military establishment in 
Buffalo in the '40s, occupying ground now bounded by Main, North, Delaware 
and Allen streets. For some account of this garrison, with diagram of grounds, 
sec Bufialo Historical Society Publications, Vol. VIII, pp. 468-475. 


This sad result of so noble an enterprise seemed for a 
time to dishearten our citizens. The corporation had in- 
curred debts, though comparatively small, beyond its means 
of payment, and when some of our citizens in 1844 and '45 
turned their attention to the establishment of a medical col- 
lege here, they were deterred from attempting it under that 
charter, and the act incorporating the University of Buffalo, 
was passed on the nth day of May, 1846 — for which we are 
chiefly indebted to the unwearied exertions of Nathan K. 
Hall, Esq., our Member of Assembly at that time. Though 
the charter contemplated and authorized academical, theo- 
logical, legal and medical departments, yet those most inter- 
ested in procuring the charter, engaged in it chiefly with a 
view of establishing a medical college, and the donations 
and subscriptions were principally made to promote that 
object, and that is the only department which has yet been 

The subscription books were opened in the summer of 
1846, the requisite subscription and payments made to au- 
thorize the election of officers and the organization of the 
institution, and on the 22d day of August, 1846, the follow- 
ing-named persons were duly elected the Council of said 
University, viz. : 

Thomas M. Foote, James O. Putnam, Hiram A. Tucker, 
Orasmus H. Marshall, George W. Clinton, Eldridge G. 
Spaulding, John D. Shepard, Gains B. Rich, Millard 
Fillmore, Orson Phelps, Joseph G. Hasten, Ira A. Blossom, 
Isaac. Sherman, George R. Babcock, William A. Bird, 
Theodotus Burwell; James P. White, member-elect from 
the Medical Faculty; the Mayor of the City of Buffalo, and 
the Recorder of the City of Buffalo, ex-ofRcio. 

After the council had prepared and ordained the neces- 
sary by-laws, for the organization of the medical depart- 
ment, they established that faculty by the appointment of the 
following professors, on the 25th of August, 1846 — namely : 

Charles Brodhead Coventry, M. D., Professor of Physi- 
ology and Medical Jurisprudence. 


Charles Alfred Lee, M. D., Professor of Pathology and 
Materia Medica. 

lames Webster, M. D., Professor of General and Special 

James P. White, M. D., Professor of Obstetrics and 
Diseases of Women and Children. 

Frank Hastings Hamilton, M. D., Professor of Prin- 
ciples and Practice of Surgery and Clinical Surgery. 

Austin Flint, M. D., Professor of Principles and Practice 
of Medicine and Clinical Medicine. 

George Hadley, M. D., Professor of Chemistry and 

Corydon La Ford, M. D., Demonstrator of Anatomy and 

The following gentlemen, selected from among the oldest 
and most distinguished members of the medical profession 
in Western New York, were chosen as curators, whose duty 
it is to assist the faculty in the examination of candidates 
for the degree of M. D. : 

Josiah Trowbridge, M. D., Bryant Burweli, M. D., Carlos 
Emmons, M. D., and Bela H. Colegrove, M. D., Erie 
County ; G. Conger, M. D., Niagara County ; Caleb Hill, 
M. D., Orleans County; John Cotes, M. D., Genesee 
County; W. R. Fay, M. D., Wyoming County; Samuel 

Salisbury, M. D., and Reynale, M. D., Livingston 

County; Gustavus A. Rogers, M. D., Steuben County; 
John B. Elwood, M. D., and W. W. Ely, M. D., Monroe 
County ; Richard Charles, M. D., Allegany County ; Owen 
Munson, M. D., Ontario County; John Coventry, M. D., 
Wayne County; A. F. Oliver, M. D., Yates County; J. E. 
Ilawley, M. D., Tompkins County; M. B. Bellows, M. D., 
Seneca County; Evelyn H. Porter, M. D., and Alexander 
Thompson, M. D., Cayuga County; John McCall, M. D., 
Oneida County; Miles Goodyear, M. D., Cortland County. 

Having no buildings, one was leased for three years, at 
the corner of Washington and Seneca streets, and fitted up 
at considerable expense for the purpose, and the first annual 
course of lectures commenced by this distinguished body of 


professors on the first Wednesday of February last, which 
term is now about to close. The whole number of students 
attending has been seventy-two — some eighteen of whom 
will receive their diplomas of Doctors of Medicine today. 
These are the first fruits of this literary and scientific vine- 
yard, and I trust they are only samples of a more abundant 
harvest that is to be annually gathered hereafter. 

If at the commencement any doubted the success of this 
enterprise, or thought the attempt premature, we trust that 
enough has now been done to dispel every doubt, and allay 
every apprehension. For never within our knowledge has 
any medical college opened with so large a class of students, 
and closed its first year under such flattering auspices. 

During the last session of the Legislature $2,000 were 
appropriated to the medical department of the University 
of Buffalo, for which we are chiefly indebted to the. praise- 
worthy exertions of Mr. [Horatio] Shumway, our present 
Member of Assembly, and no less to Mr. [Carlos] Emmons, 
our representative in the Senate. 

But we can not rely upon this as a permanent source of 
supply ; nor indeed do I think it would be best for the Uni- 
versity or the city that we should. 

I am one of those who believe that "there is no royal road 
to knowledge," and that there should be no sinecures con- 
nected with our literary and scientific institution, and that 
the funds should never come so easy as to tempt to the 
creation of such plans, or the employment of mere literary 

That some assistance may be necessary to raise the 
requisite funds to buy the land and erect suitable buildings, 
none can deny. But this accomplished, why should not an 
institution of this kind, sustain itself? If professors feel 
that this compensation depends upon the number of students 
they instruct, they will endeavor to acquit themselves in such 
a manner as to increase that number ; and if they are not 
able to attract a sufficient number to afford an adequate com- 
pensation, then, I maintain, that that is evidence of one of 
two tilings; either the professor is not competent, and 


should therefore quit his vocation, or is not wanted, and 
therefore should not be employed. It resolves itself into a 
want of capacity to instruct, or a want of pupils to be in- 
structed. Neither of these can be remedied by State bounty 
or testamentary endowments. 

The medical department has thus far been conducted 
upon the plan that the fee from the student is the only 
reward of the professor, and I am happy to add, with every 
prospect of success. 

This department being thoroughly and rightly estab- 
lished, I hope to see next the academic department organ- 
ized, and at the earliest possible moment; and why should 
we despair of this? The time has come when such an insti- 
tution is indispensable to the wants and honor of our city. 
I appeal to every father who has a son to educate. Why 
should he be compelled to send that sen to some eastern 
village or distant city to give him a liberal education? Can 
it be that this proud Queen of the Lakes, into whose lap is 
poured the commercial wealth of eight States, cannot main- 
tain a single college ! Are our crowded w p harves and glutted 
warehouses mere mockeries of wealth? No — our numerous 
and costly temples for religious worship not only attest our 
piety and devotion, but show what the enterprise and noble 
generosity of Buffalo can accomplish when its sympathies 
and energies are enlisted in a good cause. Then let me 
appeal to you on behalf of the University of Buffalo, your 
own darling child, bearing your own name, and stretching 
out its arm? for your support. Will you see it perish, or 
will you step forward with true paternal feelings, and 
minister to its wants, and raise it from despondency to hope, 
from weakness to power, and from childhood to manhood! 
If you will, be assured, that you will establish an institution 
eminently useful to yourselves, which will become the pride 
and ornament of our city, and for which you will receive 
the grateful thanks and fervent blessings of unborn millions. 



The first building erected for the University of Buffalo 
was the medical college at the corner of Main and Virginia 
streets. 1 It was dedicated November 7, 1849, on the occasion 
of the opening of the fourth annual session of the university. 
The following is from the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser's 
report of the following day : 

Mr. Fillmore, being introduced, remarked that if any had 
come there with a view of listening to an address from him, 
they would probably be disappointed. He had no expecta- 
tion of delivering an address, but had merely consented to 
make a few remarks upon the subject of the university I 

generally — its progress from its first inception, the expenses 
of the building, etc., and on receiving the note of invitation 
yesterday, had prepared a few statistics. He was not in the 
habit of committing what he had to say to paper, and 
therefore his remarks would necessarily be desultory, and 
not probably very attractive to the D. D.'s and M. D.'s who 
had assembled here today. 

It seems that we have met here to dedicate this building 
— if it be proper to use the term in this connection. If a 
few who are here will look back about four years they will 
remember that on a dark November evening a small number 
of medical gentlemen, and lawyers and a few other citizens 
assembled in an office on Main Street for consultation. That 
•consultation was not long, but it was doubtful as to results. 

1. Occupied by the Medical Department of the University of Buffalo 
until the opening of the new medical college on High street, March 5, 1S03", 
soon after that date it was torn down. The site is now covered by the build- 
ing of the Buffalo Catholic Institute. 


They discussed the question whether Buffalo had arrived at 
a position when it was practicable to establish a college, a 
university, or a medical school ; and it was finally con- 
cluded to petition the Legislature for a university charter. 
A memorial was prepared and a charter was granted under 
which this medical college is organized, authorizing a capital 
of $100,000. It required that the college should be organ- 
ized within three years — that $20,000 should be subscribed 
and 10 per cent. — $2,000 — paid in, before the organization 
should be perfected and officers elected. 

In the summer of 1846 the medical faculty, in connection 
with some of the enterprising citizens, took the required 
amount of stock and paid in the ten per cent. In the fall of 
the same year, the medical department was organized by 
the election and appointment of officers and professors. The 
$2,000 was appropriated to the preparation of a building to 
be occupied temporarily. This first attempt was more suc- 
cessful than the most sanguine friends of the institution 
had anticipated. The college was opened for the first time 
in the spring of 1847 — & having been determined to com- 
mence at this season so as not to interfere with other institu- 
tions. The number of students was sixty-three. The next 
term, in the spring following, opened with ninety-six, show- 
ing an increase highly flattering to the faculty. 

But a question was raised before the United States Medi- 
cal Association, in relation to the expediency of extending 
the term from four to six months, which was decided in 
favor of the proposition. In this recommendation the 
medical faculty of this institution readily acquiesced and 
accordingly resolved on extending the next term from four 
to six months, and to change the time of its commencement 
from spring to fall. But recent discussions before the 
Association at its session in Boston, have raised strong 
doubts as to the expediency of the extended time. And it is 
now thought better for the student to attend three terms of 
four months, than two of six. Long interrupted application 
is of doubtful utility, and the last appears to be the more 
enlightened view of the question. 


He had been requested to state the amount which had 
been subscribed towards the erection of this edifice. Inde- 
pendent of the $20,000, it amounted to upwards of $12,000, 
subscribed by 130 individuals, in sums varying- from $20 to 
$500 — $10,000 of which was realized and appropriated to 
the objects designed. Most of the subscriptions were of 
$100 each. In March, 1848, the Council purchased this lot, 
100 feet on Main Street, running back 200 feet on Virginia, 
for $2,950 — $1,700 of which was paid and the balance se- 
cured by a mortgage. Three thousand dollars being found 
inadequate to pay for the land and erect the building, it was 
decided to raise $2,000 by a further mortgage. These two 
sums, amounting to $3,250, are the only encumbrances, and 
with this exception the institution is free from debt, which 
must be highly gratifying to ail the contributors. The build- 
ing cost upward of $13,000. 

But he found on looking at the charter that the university 
was authorized to confer literary honors, degrees and di- 
plomas according to the usual practice of such institutions. 
What are these degrees? What benefits do they confer? 
lie hoped the audience would pardon him if he had to draw 
on history for his facts in relation to the origin of degrees 
and the object of conferring them. 

What is a university? Where did it originate? What 
was meant by it? According to his understanding of the 
subject, universities originated soon after the revival of 
letters in the eleventh or twelfth century, so that they had 
been in existence some 700 or 800 years. It was at Paris, or 
at Bologna, that the first university was established. 1 And 
the celebrated Abelard, better known for his unfortunate 

1. To judge from this report of Mr. Fillmore's address, be was in doubt 
whether Bologna or Paris had the better claim to precedence as a university 
seat. The establishment of the university at Bologna is recorded as of the 
year 1119. A somewhat similar institution at Montpellier, in France, was 
in exigence in 11S1, whereas the University of Paris and of Oxford in England 
are said to date from the year 1200. None of these institutions for learning 
can be declared the first for such purpose, for Cairo had a great school in the 
tenth century, though there was of course but little resemblance between it — 
or even the scholastic centers at Bologna and Montpellier — and the modern 
concept of a university. 


love for Heloise, is well known for the active part he took in 
establishing- the University of Paris. They were rot char- 
tered then as now, but of spontaneous growth. Men cele- 
brated for their learning and science, called around them 
those desirous of being instructed, and after a while they 
had privileges conferred upon them, until at length univer- 
sities were established. The degrees were the same then as 
now, and the universities of Paris and Bologna continued 
to be models for all Europe down to a late period. The 
first degree was called Bachelor of Arts. And why a 
Bachelor? This term signifies a young person, unless, in- 
deed, ''old'' be added to it, and it does not differ greatly in 
its signification from the degree conferred by the universi- 
ties. It originated with the military, and meant a young 
officer — one fresh in his promotion. From the military it 
was readily transferred to the church, and was used to 
designate those who had just taken orders — and thence to 
the university, where it was applied to those yet upon the 
threshold of science — those still young in knowledge. Hence 
it is very appropriate. A Bachelor of Arts — one who has 
taken his first step. We also find Master of Arts, Doctor of 
Laws, Doctor of Divinity, and Doctor of Medicine. How 
come these? If he were correctly informed, students were 
first admitted to the Degree of Bachelor of Arts. The next 
degree at Paris was called Master of Arts, signifying that 
he was qualified as a master of his profession. These hav- 
ing originated at Paris and Bologna, extended and were 
adopted by all other universities. 

But the degree of M. D. is the one with which we are the 
most familiar. This originated at Bologna, or extended 
thence from Paris. Whence comes the term D. D. ? It 
came from the same source. He need not tell his enlight- 
ened audience that the Pope conferred the charters upon all 
the earlier universities. Divinity began to be studied, and 
D. D. was conferred, implying that the person receiving it 
was master in the Department of Divinity. Plow came LL. 
D. to be conferred? How came it that with so many emi- 
nent men in the legal profession in England and in the 


United States, there were no LL. D.'s? During the Dark 
Ages the Roman law was lost amid the ravages of the Got!.: 
and Vandals. At Bologna a copy of the Roman law was 
said to have been found in the eleventh century, when the 
emperor ordained that it should be puhlicly expounded in 
the schools, and to give encouragement to the study, it was 
further ordained that the professors of this law should be 
dignified with the title of Doctor. The priesthood com- 
menced its study, and became much delighted with it, as 
well they might. A department was established at the Uni- 
versity of Bologna for the study of the Civil or Roman 
Law. Hence the degree. But this law not being adopted by 
Great Britain, whose law we have inherited, we have no 
LL. D. 

In the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, the pro- 
fessors, many of them being from the Continent, attempted 
to introduce the Civil Law into Great Britain. But the 
sterling nobility repelled it. Great Britain refused to adopt 
it and we followed. It has never been taught in the British 
universities. Inns of Court were established, but no degrees 
were ever introduced. The lawyers of England had indeed 
two distinctions — barristers and sergeants — which answered 
to the degree of Civil Law of Master and Doctor, but with- 
out its effect. The degree of M. D., until recently, by the 
laws of this State, admitted the one who bore it to the right 
to practice medicine — that of D. D. to practice Divinity. In 
Germany the title of LL. D. admitted its bearer to any of 
the courts. But not so here. It confers no such privileges 
with us, and is not recognized. In England they have the 
Doctors' Commons, a place where the Doctors of the Civil 
Law congregate and practice in these courts. It will be 
seen, therefore, that these degrees, originally and now, on 
the Continent, confer honor and power, but it is not so here. 
Heretofore, and until very recently, the degree of M. D. 
conferred power to a certain extent, but now it is a mere 
honorary distinction — well worthy the aspirations of any 
one, but conferring no substantial privileges under the laws 
of this State. 


It will he seen that universities as instituted in Europe, 
• -<• designed for the liberal art c . law, divinity and medi- 
cine. Our citizens called for and obtained a university 
charter. Where is your faculty for the department of law? 
Where your professors of divinity? Where your academic 
branches? All wanting. Shall this much longer be a re- 
proach to a city which is increasing its population at the rate 
of 5,000 per year, and in wealth and business prosperity! 
The medical faculty, by a noble and persevering effort, 
have filled up theirs, and are now prepared to go on with 
their school in an edifice which their own hands have 
builded. All else is vacant. Reflect, and see if it will not be 
a reproach upon us, if we longer permit our university to 
exist with but a single branch in operation. But it can 
scarcely be so deemed. Not that this may not be the most 
important. Now to secure the advantages of an academic 
department, we are compelled to send our sons to Geneva, 
to Union, and other institutions at the East. But he looked 
forward with confidence to the time when this would not be, 
and at no distant day. 

He recollected reading recently that Macauley delivered 
an address at the University of Glasgow, which was founded 
400 years ago by the Pope. He called up the long list of 
great names who have graduated there during this period. 
May not some future Macauley — when 400 years more may 
have elapsed — call up the name of some, it may be, now 
obscure individual, who has been a benefactor of his race — 
who has been educated at our university? If such an op- 
portunity is afforded, it must be clone by enlisting your ex- 
ertions in building up an institution which shall be an honor 
to the city. 

Mr. Fillmore said he had spoken much longer than lie 
had intended, and would give way to one of the professors 
of the college, who was better prepared to address the audi- 
ence. 1 

1. The reporter (or editor) considerately added to the foregoing;: "Mr. 
Fillmore is not responsible for anything but the leading ideas of the above 



The Buffalo General Hospital l was dedicated June 24, 
1858, with exercises of uncommon interest, shared in by 
many prominent men and women of Buffalo. Mr. Fillmore 
was president of the day, and on taking the chair spoke as 
follows : 

Ladies and Gentlemen: I feel that it is no slight honor 
to be called to presfde at the dedication of this building. Its 
erection and the purpose it is intended to subserve, consti- 
tute an object of great importance to our growing city. I 
know not how much attention you may have given to this 
enterprise, but for myself I must confess that I have been 
delinquent. I was not aware how silently and rapidly this 
building had grown up, and I was at once gratified and as- 
tonished yesterday, when, in company with Mr. Clarke 2 and 
the Board of Trustees, I passed through the edifice and saw 
how much had been done. 

To a city like ours, a hospital is indispensable. It is so 
situated upon the great lines of travel, and its pursuits and 
commerce are of such a nature, that transient persons are 

1. Of the many Buffalo institutions with which Mr. Fillmore's name 
must always be associated, none has stood for greater *ise in the community 
than the Genera! Hospital. It was organized November 21, 1855, subscriptions 
having been made early in that year. In 1S56 the State made an appropria- 
tion of $10,000 towards the erection of a building, and in June, 1857, the 
present site on High street was chosen. The hospital was opened to patients 
July 15, 1S58. During the Civil War over 1200 sick and wounded soldiers 
received medical aid in this institution. 

2. Charles E. Clarke, president of the Board of Trustees. 



attracted hither from all parts of the country, creating- a 
constant need for such ah institution. Hitherto the provi- 
sions for this purpose have been inadequate. Indiscriminate 
charity is, beyond question, a great evil and error. The 
primal penalty imposed on man was, that by the sweat of his 
brow should he earn his bread, and if we adopt such a sys- 
tem of indiscriminate relief as will lead men to believe that 
their wants will be provided for in any event, whether they 
labor or are idle, we but stimulate mendicancy and offer a 
reward for idleness. But there are two classes of the needy 
which demand and deserve charity. The orphans are al- 
ready provided for by a noble institution among- us. And 
next are those who by sickness or accident are deprived of 
the power of supporting themselves, for whom, up to the 
present time, no sufficient charity has been afforded. I 
therefore congratulate you on the opening of this charity, 
on the success which has hitherto attended the labors of its 
founders, and the encouraging prospects to which they can 
look forward. These gentlemen whom you see around me 
are those who are entitled to the honor of having carried 
out this object. It is by their labor and devotion that the 
plan so wisely begun has attained to such honorable success. 
I intended to occupy but a moment of your time in tak- 
ing the chair, but I could not resist the impulse to say thus 
much in honor of the occasion. 


September i, 1858, a banquet "in honor of the successful 
submersion of the Atlantic telegraph cable/' was held at 
St. James Hall, Buffalo. Millard Fillmore presided, and 
spoke as follows : 

We have met, fellow-citizens, to commemorate the mo<t 
important — I may say, the most marvelous— event of the 
age — the successful laying of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable, 
by means of which intelligence Rashes across the broad ocean 
with the velocity of lightning. Only a century since, Swe- 
denborg acquired the reputation of a prophet because he 
announced at Gottenburg that a fire was then raging at 
Stockholm. But now the Queen of England, sitting in her 
easy chair at Buckingham Palace, salutes the President at 
the White House, as though he sat in an adjoining room 
with the door open, and after exchanging congratulations 
upon their intellectual proximity, gives him to understand 
that the difficulties with China are all settled, and that the 
rebellion in India is nearly quelled. 

Is it strange that two nations, whose aggregate posses- 
sions encircle the globe, should mingle their congratulations 
at an event like this ? In the Dark Ages such an event would 
have been a miracle at the annunciation of which whole na- 
tions would have prostrated themselves in reverent adora- 
tion. But to us it is no miracle, but an understood reality, 
and therefore, the bells of old England and young America 
ring out their merry chimes, and their cannons roar and 
bonfires blaze, as though we were of one heart and one 
mind. In this exultation of joy we forget that we are dis- 
tinct nations, that a Revolution has sundered the political 



ties which bound us to them, and that the wide Atlantic 
rolls between us. Heaven gcajit that thif magnetic coid 
may he a chain of friendship, ever kept bright by reciprocal 
kind offices, and never broken by the ravages of an unnat- 
ural or unjust war. 

But, fellow-citizens, I did not rise to make a speech. That 
will be much more ably and satisfactorily performed by 
those to w r hom that duty has been assigned by the committee 
of arrangements. 

I only wish to return my thanks for the honor you have 
done me in calling upon me to preside on this interesting 
occasion, and to express my regret that the modesty of our 
worthy Mayor should have induced him to decline this 
honor. T trust that the several speakers will pardon me for 
saying that the lateness of the hour admonishes us to be 

[The Hon. James Wadsworth followed Mr. Fillmore, 
and at the close of his remarks proposed the toast, "Our 
honored townsman, Millard Fillmore."] 

In reply to the sentiment of Senator Wadsworth, Mr. 
Fillmore said that he could not forbear to say a word in 
regard to the personal allusion to himself. It was his for- 
tune earlier than others to have confidence in the success of 
the telegraph. He was day bv day in conference with Mr. 
Morse, and while few believed in the enterprise, he as Chair- 
man of the Committee of Ways and Means said to his col- 
leagues that if they would report in favor of an appropria- 
tion to Mr. Morse, he would risk his reputation in defending 
the measure in the Hou-e. Fie thanked God the project was 


As Chancellor of the University of Buffalo. Mr. Fillmore 
presided at the annual commencement of the Medical De- 
partment in 1859 — February 23d — and presented the degrees 


to tlic graduating - class. Of his address the fullest known 
record is the following synopsis (Buffalo Commercial Ad- 
vertiser, February 24th) : 

Having distributed the diplomas, Mr. Fillmore followed 
the ceremony with a brief address to the graduates, pertin- 
ent to the occasion, and particularly appropriate to its dis- 
tinguished source. Remarking that it was not his province 
to advise them in matters purely professional, he could, 
perhaps, as an outside observer, address to them some coun- 
sel on their general duties as men and their relations to the 
community at large. 

He spoke of the physician as occupying a position as 
arbiter between life and death, and incurring a responsi- 
bility as heavy as man could possibly bear. It was their 
duty to be true to themselves, to act with perfect candor, 
making no unauthorized pretences, laying no claim to a 
wisdom greater than they possessed. He warned them 
against detraction of competitors and assured them that it 
was not only the right, but the best policy, to speak of other 
practitioners in a generous and appreciative manner. In 
their intercourse with patients and families they would be- 
come the repository of secrets which should remain invio- 
lable. For ages the law had enjoined secrecy on the lawyer 
in his intercourse with his client, and recently that injunc- 
tion had been extended to the relation of physician and 
patient. Not only in cases where crime came to his knowl- 
edge in the confidential intercourse of the sickroom, but in 
all cases of illness, the physician should make no revelations 
save such as are obviously for the good of the patient him- 

Mr. Fillmore then spoke eloquently of the true idea of 
education. There are two educations — : scholastic and prac- 
tical. Books were of value, but in all professions practice 
was the great teacher. The positive sciences of medicine 
might be unchangeable, the anatomy of the human form was 
ever the same ; but its diseases changed from time to time, 
new epidemics appeared, and were the student versed in all 


the literature of the medicine of today, he would find to- 
morrow new fields of research open before him. 


On February 22, 1861, Mr. Fillmore participated in a 
celebration of the anniversary of Washington's birthday, at 
the Buffalo Central School, and in response to a cordial wel- 
come from young and old, made a brief address. 

He told how interested he had been, and said there was 
no need to add anything to what the young patriots, male and 
female, hnd uttered so eloquently during the morning. He 
believed that all the successors of Washington in the Presi- 
dential chair had endeavored to administer the Government 
on his principles ; with what success time and history must 
determine. A dark cloud was lowering- over the South. It 
was our duty in the North, the duty of every patriot, to 
withhold ah manifestations of hostility, to show the South 
that we were their brethren, that we were ready to con- 
ciliate them, and to do so by doing all that we ever agreed 
to do, and then call upon them to do everything that they 
had agreed with us. The country was passing through a 
terrible crisis ; but he believed that the patriotism which 
presided over its birth would ultimately save it. 


At the Union rally in the Metropolitan Theater, Buffalo, 
April 16, i85i, Mr. Fillmore, the chairman, said: 

Fellow-Citizens: It is many years since T have taken 
any part in a political meeting, and I never intended to at- 
tend another. I have long since ceased to be a partisan or 
politician in the ordinary acceptance of those terms. But I 
have not ceased to love my country, to venerate its institu- 
tions, to take a just pride in its prosperity and glory, and to 
tremble with anxiety when I see all that a patriot should hold 
dear in the most imminent peril. 

It is for this reason that I have at your request, consented 
to preside at this meeting — composed, as it is, of the citizens 
of Buffalo without distinction of party, who have assembled 
here to express their sentiments on the alarming state of the 
country. To be thought worthy of such on honor, at such a 
time, from those with whom my life has been spent, calls 
for my grateful acknowledgment, and I therefore return 
you my cordial thanks for this mark of your continued confi- 
dence and respect. 

But, my fellow-citizens, this is no time for any man to 
shrink from the responsibility which events have cast upon 
him. We have readied a crisis in the history of this country 
when no man, however humble his rank, or limited his influ- 
ence, has a right to stand neutral. Civil War has been in- 
augurated, and we must meet it. Our Government calls for 
add, and we must give it. Our Constitution is in danger, and 
we must defend it. It is no time now to inquire by whose 
fault or folly this state of things has been produced. The 
Ship of State is in the breakers, the muttering thunder and 



darkened sky indicate the coming" storm, and if she sinks we 
imist go down with her. We have a common lot and must 
meet a common fate. Let every man therefore stand to his 
post, and like the Roman sentinel at the gate of Pompeii, 
let posterity, when the storm is over, find our skeleton and 
armor on the spot where duty required us to stand. 

You know, my friends, that my love of country embraces 
the whole Union — in all that relates to the administration of 
the Government, I know no North, no South — each and 
every portion is alike entitled to its protection, and 1" have 
that confidence in this Administration to believe that it will 
receive it. I therefore think that our Southern brethren 
have made a great mistake in arraying themselves against 
the Government, for fear it will be improperly administered.- 
And I had hoped that if peace could be maintained for a 
short time, until they could be convinced of their error, that 
they would voluntarily unite with us again. Or if that were 
impossible, that time might thus be gained for a National 
convention, which might so amend the Constitution as to 
enable us to separate without war. But if they commence 
an aggressive warfare, we have no alternative but to rally 
around the constituted authorities and defend the Govern- 

But no language can express my admiration of the noble 
patriotism displayed by the Union men of the border States. 
They stand like a rock in the midst of the ocean, against 
which the surges of secession beat in vain. Not moved by 
terror or seduced by an unholy ambition, they have formed 
a rampart for the protection of the Constitution. Their 
patriotism is as pure as the unsullied snow, and their loyalty 
is as incorruptible as virtue itself. If they ask further guar- 
antees for any constitutional right which they may think 
endangered in consequence of their relative weakness by 
secession, I would cheerfully grant it. 1 feel that they de- 
serve it ; and no mere abstractions should induce me to 
withhold it. But I speak only for myself. The meeting 
will speak its own sentiments, and I wait its further pleasure. 



On July 4, 1861, Mrs. O. G. Steele, "in behalf of the 
ladies of 1812," presented to the Union Continentals, 1 under 
Mr. Fillmore's command, a Union flag. In receiving it Mr. 
Fillmore spoke in substance as follows : 

Believe me, madam, when I assure you that I receive this 
gift from your hands as a present to the Union Continentals, 
not merely as a symbol of my country's nationality and 
glory; but what is still more gratifying to my heart, I re- 
ceive it as a token of approbation from those friends and 
neighbors on whose behalf you present it. The symmetrical 
beauty, the rich material, and the exquisite workmanship, 
all attest the genius which designed, the generosity which 
provided, and the delicate skill which has wrought this splen- 
did banner. It is truly imperial in all its appointments, and 
worthy of the ladies who have so generously and patriotic- 
ally bestowed it. 

1. Scire note has been made (Fillmore Papers, Vol. I, Introduction) or 
this Buffalo organization and the services it rendered during the Civil War. 
Mr. Fillmore was its first captain. The flag mentioned here is now owned 
by the Buffalo Historical Society. It is of heavy silk, with gold fringe and 
the staff is composed of eighteen pieces of wood of various sorts native to 
America, typifying the eighteen States which constituted the federal Union in 
1812. "The flag as a whole was constructed under the immediate supervision 
of Mr. Jonathan Sidway and Dr. T. L. Trowbridge." Numerous papers relat- 
ing to the Union Continentals, including minutes of meetings, etc., some of 
them in Mr. Fillmore's handwriting, are preserved by the Buffalo Historical 


mmv r r Tvv -■■ - .... ,.._ .... ^ 











From a Photograph Takfn Sept ember. 186?, Now O * - n e d b v th f 
Buffalo Historical Society. 


The gift, I am told, is the donation of the women of 
Buffalo, who were here during the War of 1812, 1 and of their 
fair daughters. This allusion to that exciting period in the 
history of our city must awaken in your minds mingled emo- 
tions of pain and pleasure. This town was a frontier 
village, and you who were old enough to remember the 
events of that war, need no prompter to remind you of the 
miseries you endured and the horrors which you witnessed. 
Your village was an unfortified camp, and your nightly 
slumbers were, disturbed by the booming of cannon, until 
you were forced to fly, in the midst of winter, by the light 
of your own dwellings, from a hostile foe. But phcenix- 
like, this proud city has arisen from the ashes, and by com- 
mon consent boasts the proud appellation of ''Queen City 
of the Lakes'' ; second to no other city in the State this side 
of New York. 

On that dreadful night, when women and children fled 
in terror from the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the 
savage, the torch of the enemy spared only the widow's 
lonely cottage; and her descendants, and the descendants of 
many others who witnessed those horrid scenes, have been 
spared to unite with us in this patriotic act. This flag shall 
never be unfurled but for the protection of the innocent and 
the maintenance of the Constitution and laws. 

Our thanks are also due to you, madam, for the gracious 
manner in which you have been pleased to confer this favor; 
and to you, sir, 2 for the eloquent address with which the 
presentation has been accompanied. And you will also, sir, 

1. The following- ladies, resident in Buffalo in 1812, were associated in 
the presentation of the banner: Mesdames Cyrenius Chapin, Ralph Pomeroy, 
Samuel Pratt, William Hodge, Dan Bristol, Ira Kibbe, Major Noble, Benjamin 
Bidwell, Foster Young, Sabina Howse, Lester Brace, Alvin Dod^e, Ebene?er 
Walden, R. S. Heacock, A. S. Bemis, Josiah Trowbridge, Matilda S. Dickin- 
son, Sarah T. Coburn, Esther P. Fox, Mary P. Burt, Sarah D. Gilbert, Parnell 
St. John Sidway, Louisa C. Weed, Katherine C. Warner, Sarah M. Davidson, 
Beulah G. Smith, Fanny A. Lay, Sarah M. Judson, Miles Jones, Orlando 
Allen, Sophia Pratt, O. G. Steele, John C. Lord, Walter H. Stanard, and 
Samuel II. Macy ; and Misses Eliza G. Colton, Mary S. Colton and Sarah 

2. Rev. Dr. John C. Lord, who had introduced Mr. Fillmore to the audi- 
ence. The exercises were held in the Central Presbyterian church, of which 
Dr. Lord was pastor. 



permit me on my own behalf, to make my profound ac- 
knowledgment for the very flattering manner in which you 
have been pleased to speak of my position in this honorable 
body. But it is due to myself and to the men who compose 
the Continental phalanx before you, that I should not appro- 
priate to myself even by my silence what properly belongs 
to them. I claim no merit for this organization. Every 
man in that venerable body which stands before you is 
entitled to more credit than I am. They organized this corps 
and called me to the duty which I perform. Theirs be the 
honor and theirs the mead of praise. I claim no other 
merit than that of a loyal heart, devoted soul and body to 
my country, and as ready to stand by its flag as a private 
citizen, as I should be were 1 Commander-in-Chief of the 
Army and Navy of the United States. 

That venerated flag, the symbol of nationality and glory, 
must never succumb to a foreign foe or domestic rebellion. 

"The Stai Spangled Banner — 
O, long may it wave 
O'er the land of the free, 
And the home of the brave." - > 



The old Board of Trade rooms, Central Wharf, Buffalo, 
were opened to business June 26, 1862. During the exer- 
cises Mr. William Williams proposed as a toast, "Health 
and long life to the ex-President of the United States, 
Honorable Millard Fillmore." 

Mr. Fillmore, in response to this sentiment said that he 
was wholiy taken by surprise, and was prepared with no 
remarks suited to the occasion. He took pleasure, however, 
in congratulating the princely merchants of Buffalo on the 
revival of the Board of Trade in so magnificent a room. 
The Exchange is where business should be transacted, to 
save both time and money. 

He asked permission, by way of comparison, to speak of 
a few of the Exchanges he had visited in Europe. He was 
invited to visit the Exchange in London, and found it in a 
small room not large enough to afford accommodations to 
the merchants, who transacted a large portion of their busi- 
ness out-of-doors in a yard. He then went to Lloyd's, the 
place where the immense insurance business of London is 
done. The room was not half as large as this. He asked 
why the place was called Lloyd's, and learned that years 
before, the insurance business used to be transacted in a 
small tavern on the banks of the Thames, kept by a man of 
this name, and that the insurance mart had ever since been 
called "Lloyd's." 

He then spoke of the exchange in Hamburgh, one of the 
largest commercial cities on the globe. He was told that 



he could not find a place in the main room, so he went into 
the gallery. From this, he looked clown upon a room twice 
as large as this, crowded as full as it could be, and the din 
arising from it was like the roar of Niagara. There was 
not a desk to be seen, and he inquired how it was possible to 
transact business. He was pointed to the floor which was 
marked off like a checkerboard, on which every man had a 
square of about four feet, and which he always occupied or 
had a substitute in it. In this way all confusion is avoided, 
and every man does business "on the square." He sug- 
gested that when the business of Buffalo should develop its 
just proportions this plan might be adopted by our mer- 

He said he regarded this institution and the merchants of 
Buffalo as the life-blood of its prosperity. This is a good 
point for manufacturing and their growth should be studi- 
ously fostered; but when trade prospers everything pros- 
pers, and when it languishes all feel its depressing influence. 
'''Buffalo in the progress of history is destined by its position 
to be what Alexandria and Venice were. The merchants of 
Buffalo, you who arc now here, are to assist in giving our 
city this prosperity. Your names will go down to posterity 
in connection with this event, as marking one of the pro- 
gressive strides toward the great and undeveloped future." 
The ex-President closed his speech with a courteous ac- 
knowledgment of the compliment given him, and his assur- 
ance of the love he cherished for the city and his gratifica- 
tion at such proof of her prosperity. 



At American Hall, Buffalo, July I, 1862, Mr. Fillmore 
delivered his inaugural address as first president of the 
Buffalo Historical Society i 1 

Gentlemen of the Buffalo Historical Society: 
When men erect a statue to commemorate the virtues of 
some distinguished civilian, 01 the heroism or gallantry of 
some great warrior, they inaugurate it with all due cere- 
mony ; and so a newly-elected President, before he enters 
upon his term of office, is usually inaugurated with great 
pomp and ceremony ; and he generally indicates in an ad- 
dress the policy which he intends to pursue in administering 
the Government. 

We cannot think of comparing this infant society, which 
has yet to win its fame, with such august events. Never- 
theless, the Buffalo Historical Society having been organ- 
ized, it seems fit and proper that it should be inaugurated; 
and we have met this evening for that purpose. 

But the question is generally asked, why establish an 
Historical Society in Buffalo? We ail know its history and 
that of the surrounding country. The town itself — as vil- 
lage and city — is scarcely older than its oldest inhabitant, 
and the whole of Western New York has been settled within 
the memory of men now living; and we can, therefore, learn 
its history by talking with our neighbors. Such persons may 

1. Reprinted from Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. I, 1879, 
now out of print. 


say, that we do not require historical records to tell us all 
that we desire to know of the city and its inhabitants. 

I grant that this may be true of some of this generation, 
but certainly not of all. Even now the inquisitive mind 
wishes to know a thousand things connected with the origin 
and expansion of this great city, and the labors of its enter- 
prising inhabitants, of which it: can find no authentic record. 
But even if all its present inhabitants knew, by tradition or 
actual observation, everything connected with the com- 
mencement and growth of this city, and the men who have 
acted a distinguished part on its theater, still this historical 
association would be necessary. It must be borne in mind, 
that its labors are not for the present generation merely, or 
ch.iefiy, but rather for posterity. 

"The object of this society," as expressed in its constitu- 
tion, "is to discover, procure, and preserve whatever may 
relate to the history of Western New York, in general, and 
the city of Buffalo in particular." It is, therefore, apparent 
that the object of this society is not the study of history, 
either ancient or modern, general or local, or the formation 
of a library for that purpose ; but its chief object, is to collect 
and preserve the materials of history relating to Western 
New York, and especially to Buffalo, for future reference 
and use. Those who would learn the. history of nations 
winch have arisen, flourished and passed away, leaving noth- 
ing but a name, and the records and monuments of their 
works, to tell that they ever existed, and those who would 
trace the origin and history of the nations among which the 
earth is now divided, must seek that information from other 
sources than this society. Its object is not to teach, but to 
preserve history. And it is certainly a grateful task to com- 
memorate the virtues of those who have built up this city 
and its noble institutions, and to be sure that their names 
shall not be forgotten. Now is the time to photograph 
their characters in all the lineaments of active life, that the 
generations who shall come after us may see them as we 
have seen them, and be stimulated to emulate their virtues, 
and if possible rival their enterprise. 


The history of a city like this, naturally divides itself into 
two parts- material and pexspnal; and L:;e combination of 
these in due proportion constitutes its history. The material 
is first and most enduring ; but the personal, which sketches 
individual life, and social, religious, charitable and political 
combinations, is much the most interesting; though the 
actors, like those in the theater, appear upon the stage but 
to perform the part assigned them by Providence in the 
great drama of life, and then pass from our view forever; 
but their works, material and moral, remain to bless or curse 
mankind, as they have been good or evil. 

I am sure that it cannot be that any of us know all of 
Buffalo which we ought; and if we neglect our duty, pos- 
terity will know much less than we do. Buffalo! Is it not 
a strange name for a city? To our ears it is familiar, indi- 
cating only the name of a pleasant and beautiful city. But 
a foreigner, when you say you are from Buffalo, looks at 
you as though he thought the inhabitants of the place where 
you reside were buftalos, and you unavoidably feel that you 
would be glad to give some reason why this singular name 
has been attached to your place of residence. But who 
among us can tell? I am sure I cannot. I do not mean to 
say that it is difficult to ascertain how the city came by this 
name, for it is manifest that it took its name from the creek. 
But the question is, why was this stream that runs through 
our city called "Buffalo creek/' and when and by whom 
was it thus christened? To this question I confess that I 
have never seen any satisfactory answer. I have never seen 
any reliable statement that the buffalo in his wild state was 
ever found in Western New York. I believe that his native 
haunt was the great prairies of the West, and nowhere else 
on this continent. It is true that early French travelers 
have spoken of seeing "wild cows," especially in the north- 
ern part of the State ; but it is evident to my mind from their 
description, when they give any, that they meant either the 
moose or the elk. It is clear, then, that this name could not 
have arisen from the fact that this locality was once the 
haunt of the wild buffalo. 


About 1845, the question of the origin of this name for 
the creek was considerably discussed in the papers of this 
city. 1 It seemed to be conceded by all those who professed 
to understand the Indian language., that it was not a trans- 
lation of any Indian name for the creek ; but, so far as ap- 
pears, they had none, but called the place at or near the 
mouth of the creek, "Tush-ua" or "Dush-ua," which all 
agree meant the place of the "peeled bass-woods" ; so that 
we cannot trace this name to an aboriginal origin. 2 

The first historians after the Dark or Middle Ages, had 
apparently no difficulty in accounting for the origin of 
nations and cities and their names. P'or we are informed by 
an historian of great research, that "it was believed by every 
people that they were directly descended from ancestors who 
had been present at the siege of Troy. That was a proposi- 
tion which, no one thought of doubling. The only question 
was as to the details of such lineage. On this, however, 
there was a certain unanimity of opinion ; since, not to men- 
tion inferior countries, it was admitted the French were 
descended from Francus, whom everybody knew to be the 
son of Hector ; and it was also known that the Britons came 
from Brutus, whose father was no other than iEneas him- 
self. They say that the capital of France was called after 
Paris, the son of Priam, because he fled there when Troy 
was overthrown ; and that the city of Troyes was actually 

1. Sec the Buffalo Coyr.mcrcial Advertiser, July 29, 1845. 

2. On the origin of the name of Buffalo, see the paper by William 
Ketchum, "Origin of the Name of Buffalo," Buffalo Historical Society Publi- 
cations, Vol. I, in which the author calls attention to certain errors, of fact 
or inference, in this address by Mr. Fillmore; also correspondence on the 
subject by Kev. Asher Wright of the Seneca Mission and Nathaniel 1\ Strong, 
a Seneca chief, supplementing Mr. Ketchum's paper. Mr. Fillmore's examina- 
tion of the subject was far from thorough. Numerous variants of the Indian 
name of Buffalo creek are given by Ketchum, O. II. Marshall ('•Ilisrorical 
Writings") and others, but none of them give "Tvsh.-ua" or "Dush-ua," In 
the Seneca, the creek was called "Tc-o-sah-VL-ay," "the place of basswoods"; 
in the Mohawk this was "Te-lios-o-ro-roii" or "Tc-hos-e-ro-ron." [Ketchum.] 
Morgan ("League of the Iroquois") gives "Do-sho-zueh" as the Seneca form. 
Marshall cites authorities for "Te-hos-c-ro-ro)i'' and "Do-se-o-nay ga-hcn-dJ," 
and "Tu-se-o-wa." (Alden's "Seneca Missions," p. 163.) See also on this 
subject, Dr. William M. Beauchamp's "Aboriginal Place Names of New York," 
New York State Museum Bulletin 108, pp. 56-63. 


built by the Trojans, as the etymology of its name clearly 
proves." [Buckle, "History of Civilization," vol. i., pp. 


Could I yield my convictions to fables like these, I might 
give credence to the story told in a paper called the Pilot, 
printed in this city, July 16, 1845, in which an anonymous 
writer, signing himself "O-me-ga," tells a fanciful story 
about some unknown and unnamed missionaries v/ho camped 
near the mouth of the creek in a state of starvation, and sent 
out their hunters for game, who killed a horse belonging to 
the Indians, and served it up to the famishing missionaries 
as buffalo meat, and hence they called the stream "Buffalo 
creek." But I confess that this story, like those of the his- 
torians of France and England, appears too mythical to de- 
serve any serious attention at the hands of the historian, and 
I fear that I am destined to pass down to the grave, without 
seeing the mystery explained of the origin of the name of 
"Buffalo creek," or when, or where, or by whom it was first 
applied to this stream. 

But, having made this frank confession of my ignorance 
and despair, I trust that I shall be pardoned in offering a 
conjecture as to the probable origin of this name. I have 
searched the Indian treaties, and the public documents pub- 
lished by Congress and the State Legislature, and such 
books and maps as I have been able to find, and as far as 
my research extends, the name of "Buffalo creek" is first 
found in the first treaty made by the United States with the 
Six Nations of Indians who were the owners and occupants 
of Western New York. 1 This treaty was made at Fovt 
Stanwix (now Rome), on October 22, 1784, immediately 
after the close of the Revolutionary war, at which time the 
whole country west of Utiea was one unbroken wilderness. 
The military posts of Oswego, Niagara, Detroit and Mack- 
inaw^wcre then, and for more than ten years afterwards, in 
the occupation of the British troops. Little or nothing was 

I. An earlier use of the name "Buffalo creek" for this stream, spelled 
exactly as we write it today, is on Capt. John Montresor's map of the outlet 
of Lake Erie, etc., July, 1764. The map is in the British Museum. 


known of this particular locality. The course of trade with 
the Indians, was along the shore of Lake Ontario, generally 
alon^ the north shore, as being- the shortest route to Detroit, 
and so on west: and, consequently the traders had little or 
no inducement (as the military post at the upper end of 
Niagara river was at Fort Erie) to stop here; and if the 
creek had an Indian name it has not come down to us as 
distinct from the place of "peeled bass-woods." Who acted 
as scribe or interpreter at the council which formed that 
treaty, we know not, as all the minutes of its proceedings 
have been lost, and nothing but the treaty itself remains to 
explain what was done. 

The chief object of the treaty seems to have been to fix 
the western boundary of the lands belonging to the Six 
Nations, and this place was made a point from which a line 
was to be run due south to the north line of Pennsylvania, 
as the western boundary of the Six Nations, and this local- 
ity was described in the treaty as "Tehosororan or Buffalo 
creek." Now it is apparent that "Tehosororan" was in- 
tended to be what the Indians here call "Tushuway" or 
"Desoway" and the marked difference of spelling shows the 
bungling manner in which the interpreter spoke the Indian 
language, or the stupidity of the scribe in writing it down. 
This mistake in the Indian name may also prepare us to look 
out for a mistake in the English name, for it can hardly be 
supposed that an Indian interpreter spoke English better 
than Indian, and it therefore might naturally happen that a 
stupid scribe did not readily distinguish between the word 
"beaver" and "buffalo," especially when spoken by one who 
could not speak the English language plainly. I strongly 
suspect that the interpreter meant to say Beaver creek, but 
not speaking the language well, the scribe understood him 
"Buffalo creek," and so wrote it down, and inserted it in the 

But you naturally ask why I suspect this mistake. I will 
tell you why. It does not appear that there was ever a buf- 
falo here, and therefore there was nothing to suggest that 
name for the creek. The Indians never spoke of buffalos, 


as I can find, in all their communications to the colonial au- 
thorities of New York, but they seemed to be most anxious 
ffbowt their "i)eaver hunting-g rounds." They had no Buffalo 
tribe, but they had a Beaver tribe, 1 and it is far more prob- 
able that beavers were found on this creek than buffalos. 

This suspicion is very much strengthened, if not con- 
firmed, by the fact that Cornplanter, a very intelligent 
Indian chief, who was present at Fort Stanwix when this 
treaty was made, six years afterwards, in 1790, appealed to 
President Washington for relief on behalf of the Indians, 
and, in speaking of this treaty, he said : "You told us that 
the line drawn from Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario would 
mark it forever on the east, and that the line running from 
Beaver creek would mark it on the west, and we see that it 
is not so." [1. American State Papers, Indian Affairs, p. 

Thus, I say, it seems probable that the same blundering 
stupidity which converted "Tushu-a" into "Tehosororan" 
changed Beaver into Buffalo, and that this was the time, 
place and manner in which this stream received the. name 
of "Buffalo creek." 

But the question may be asked : "Why, if this mistake 
was made, was it not corrected?" How could it be? The 
Indians were too ignorant of letters to know that any mis- 
take had been made, as is evident from the fact that Corn- 
planter called it Beaver creek six years afterwards, and the 
ignorance of the whites as to the true name precluded all 
possibility of correcting the mistakes at that time; and the 
natural course of events soon fixed it beyond the power of 
correction, for the treaty was published as a law, and sent 
all over the country; but Cornplanter's address to President 
Washington was probably not published till forty years 

Thus you will perceive, if my conjecture be correct, that 
Fort Stanwix was the place, and the making of the treaty 

1. Referring- to the clan or relationship organization of the Iroquois 
peoples. Orisriiially, with reference to marriage, there were the Wolf, Bear, 
Beaver and Turtle tribes. The Senecas had these four, and also the Deer, 
Snipe, Heron and Hawk tribes; but there was no Buffalo or Bison tribe. 


of 1784. the occasion, for christening Buffalo creek, whether 
the god-fathers who assisted on that occasion, mistook the 
intended name or not. There the name originated, and 
there it was first applied. But I concede that this is only a 
conjecture; and the most that I can hope is, that it will 
stimulate some member of the society, fond of antiquarian 
research, to pursue this investigation, and, if possible, either 
confirm or explode this theory, and settle the true origin of 
the name of Buffalo upon a firm, historical basis. 1 

But I beg of you, gentlemen, not to infer from anything 
which I have said that 1 do not like the name of Buffalo. 
However it may sound to foreign ears, to me it signifies 
everything which 1 love and admire in a city, beautiful, 
clean, healthy, warm in winter and cool in summer ; but, 
above all, it is my home, and the home of the friends I love 
best, where my days have been spent, and my bones shall 

It is, probably, known to most of you, that three attempts 
have been made to fasten the name of Amsterdam upon 
some locality in this State. The first was the city of New 
York, which was called New Amsterdam ; and it retained 
this name until the jurisdiction passed from Holland to 
Great Britain in 1664, when it was changed to New York. 
The second was Amsterdam, as the name of a township in 
Montgomery County, in 1793, which name it still retains, 
as also does the principal village of the town, formerly 
called Yeedersburgh. The third and last effort was made 
here. When the original plot for this city was surveyed, 
about 1801 to 1803, the agents of the Holland Land Com- 
pany, the proprietors of all this region of country, named 
the place, on their maps, "New Amsterdam," in compliment 
to the Dutch owners. But it is quite apparent, that this did 
not suit the first settlers here. The name of "Buffalo Creek" 
had then become well established. Congress, in 1805, estab- 
lished a collection district here by that name; and I have 

1. For some further facts and speculations on this subject, see Mr. 
Fillmore's correspondence with Dr. E. B. O'Callaghan and others, printed in 
subsequent pages of this collection. 


seen a letter from Joseph Ellicott, the Holland Land Com- 
pany's local agent, dated August 24, 1807, in which, speak- 
.$ng of the lots of this village, lie calls it "New Amsterdam, 
alias Buffalo." 

Thus was the name, probably by some public act of the 
inhabitants themselves, transferred from the creek to the 
village, and, probably, about this time it became the popu- 
lar name of the place. But the first legal recognition which 
I find of it, is in the law of the State Legislature, establish- 
ing the county of Niagara, passed March 11, 1808, in which 
"Buffalo or New Amsterdam" is named as the county seat, 
on condition that the Holland Land Company would give 
land for the public buildings, and erect the same, which 
they did. 

In 1810, the town of Buffalo was established, and in 
1813 the village of Buffalo was incorporated; but it was 
burned the same year, and was not re-organized till 18 15. 
A new charter was obtained in 1822, and it was finally incor- 
porated as a city in 1832, since which time the charter has 
been frequently amended so as to include more territory; 
swallowing up in its voracious growth the surrounding vil- 
lages, including its old and once formidable rival, Black 

Thus much for the extraordinary name of our city. But 
even in this we are not w r holly without precedent. Classical 
history gives us the name of Bosporus, meaning an ox- 
passage, for the narrow strait which separates Asia from 
Europe ; Oxford, meaning a ford for oxen, is the name of 
one of the great collegiate cities of England ; and Berne, the 
capital of Switzerland, means hear, and two or three of 
these uncouth animals are constantly kept there at the public 
expense as mementos. When I saw them, they were in a 
deep vault or excavation, which was surrounded by a wall, 
open at the top, and these singular pets were amusing them- 
selves by climbing a pole in the center, and catching fruit 
thrown to them by the spectators. I trust that we shall not 
imitate the Bernese example, by keeping two or three wild 


bufifalos, for they would be exceedingly inconvenient where 
all animals are permitted to run at large. 1 

But, dismissing this subject, let us turn for a moment 
to the original plan of our city, and see how far the design 
has been carried out. By looking at an original map you 
will perceive that a certain portion of the ground was laid 
out in small lots, called "inner lots," numbering in all 
upwards of two hundred ; and outside of these inner lots, 
larger lots were laid out, called "outer lots," to the number 
of about one hundred and fifty. The inner lots were bounded 
on the north by Chippewa street ; on the southwest by the 
Terrace; on the east by Ellicott street; and were evidently 
intended to be occupied by the dwellings, stores and shops 
of the citizens ; while the outer lots were intended as pasture- 
ground for their cattle. But how strangely all this lias been 
reversed. We now see the cattle and swine, which from 
their numbers apparently come from the surrounding coun- 
try, daily feeding upon or rooting up the beautiful grass 
plots about our houses in the very heart of the city, which 
we have taken so much pains to make an attractive orna- 
ment to the town. How our Common Council have been 
able to legislate so much with a view of remedying this cry- 
ing evil, without apparently producing the least effect, will 
form an interesting chapter in the future history of the 
"mysteries" of this city. I hope, for the honor of our city 
fathers and its police, as well as for the instruction of pos- 
terity, that some Diedrich Knickerbocker will give it to the 
world in all its grotesque significance. 

But there is another thing connected with the original 
plan of our city, that may not be familiar to all. How many 
lawyers in the city, if shown a de^d } bounding land on 
Busti and Vollenhoven's avenues, could tell where to locate 
it? We are a people fond of novelty, and where we cannot 

i. But this has now come to pass, apparently with public approval; and 
although Buffalo's small herd of bison are not "permitted to run at large," 
except in their own ample quarters in a park far beyond the range of popular 
resort in Mr. Fillmore's day, yet the fact that they are kept at all is probably 
attributable to the same sort of sentiment that keeps the bears at Berne or 
the wolves in Rome — an association, in the popular mind, of the animal with 
the name or history of the city. 


change the thing, we change the name. This propensity has 
been singularly exemplified during the present Civil War. 1 
Snips and forts have changed their names so often, that, to 
a stranger, the history of the war must be a perfect "comedy 
of errors." We must not therefore be surprised to find that 
the early settlers in Buffalo, after getting rid of the name 
of New Amsterdam for their village, proceeded to demolish 
die jaw-breaking names of the streets, and to substitute 
more euphonious ones in their places. Hence they call 
North and South Onondaga, Washington street ; North and 
South Oneida, Ellicott street; Van Staphorst and Willink 
avenues, Main street ; North and South Cayuga, Pearl 
street; Tuscarora, Franklin street; Messissagua, 2 Morgan 
street; Schimelpenninck avenue, Niagara street; Stadnitski 
avenue, Church street; Vollenhoven's avenue, Erie street; 
Cazenovia avenue. Court street ; and Busti avenue, Gene- 
see street. But I am bound to say that I regard these as 
beneficial changes, though the knowledge of the original 
names should be preserved to illustrate public records and 
past history. One change, however, was made, for which 
there was no necessity, and which I cannot but regret, viz. : 
that of Crow street to Exchange. Possibly our city fathers 
supposed this street had been named after that cunning but 
troublesome bird whose name it bears ; but this, I am as- 
sured, is not so, since the street was named after John 
Crow, one of the earliest settlers, who resided on that street, 
and it is due to his memory that it should have retained his 

I shall mention but one other feature in the original plan 
of this city, and that is, as you will see by the map, the large 
lot No. 104, occupying the whole space on the east side of 

1. One instance, which could scarcely have been gratifying to Mr. 
Fillmore, was to be found in New Orleans, where, in April, 1S61, the school 
board of the third district changed the name of the "Fillmore School" to the 
"Jefferson Davis School." 

2. Mr. Fillmore's spelling is here followed, but in the city records this 
street was spelled "Missisauga." This street illustrates a characteristic of 
Buffalo from the earliest days — a frequent changing of street names. Thus, 
present Morgan street has been at different times, Webster street, Mississippi 
street, and Missisauga street, with an infinite variety of spelling for the last 
designation. Very many of Buffalo's streets have had a like protean career, 
somewhat to the confusion of history if not of land titles. 


Main street, between Eagle and Swan streets, and running 
back two thirds of a mile, containing one hundred acres, 
and bounding on Main street with a semi-circle in front of 
the Churches. 

This boundary would have carried Main street around 
this semi-circle, and would thus have enabled the owner to 
erect a palace on this semi-circle, from the observatory of 
which he could look up and down Main street, down Erie 
and Church streets to the lake, and down Niagara street to 
Black Rock and Canada. It is said that this magnificent lot 
was laid out by Joseph Ellicott for his own use. It was cer- 
tainly a noble conception, and I cannot but regret that he 
was not permitted to carry it out, for the life of a man is 
nothing in comparison to the life of a city, and he would 
soon have passed away, leaving a splendid building for the 
display of the fine arts, and a beautiful park in the midst 
of our city. But the democratic spirit of the time, which 
looked not to the future, was naturally jealous of such a 
baronial establishment, and cut the beautiful semi-circle, 
running Main street through it instead of around it. Mr. 
Ellicott, feeling the indignity, gave up the project, and never 
made Buffalo his residence; and this lot was finally divided 
by North and South Division streets, and surveyed into 
small lots, and sold out to settlers. Thus the last hope for 
an extensive park in the midst of our city vanished. 

But, turning from the material history of Buffalo, on 
which I have said more than I intended, let us for a moment 
glance at its personal history ; and here time admonishes me 
that I must be brief. 

This naturally begins with the red man of the forest. 
Tradition says that a nation called "Neuter'' once inhabited 
this region, occupying a space between the Senecas on the 
east, and the Eries or Cat Indians on the west; but which, 
like the Eries, was either driven off or exterminated by its 
more warlike and powerful neighbors. All that we know 
of the Neuter nation is, perhaps, too vague and shadowy 
to enter into reliable history. But not so with the Seneca 
nation, which succeeded to the territory of the Neutrals. 


The Seneca Nation was the most numerous and powerful 
of the Six Nations, and its history may be traced with toler- 
able accuracy for near two hundred years. Who lias not 
heard of Farmer's Brother, the brave and sagacious war- 
rior, the calm and judicious statesman, and the eloquent 
orator? His residence was at Farmer's Point on the Big 
Buffalo creek, just below the railroad bridge. I am told, 
by those who knew him, that in addition to those striking 
intellectual gifts, which marked him as one of nature's 
noblemen, he possessed a gigantic and well-proportioned 
frame, and moved with a majestic air, which said to all 
observers that he. was born to command. Though he lacked 
the cultivation of civilized life, and the grace which Chris- 
tianity alone can bestow, yet, as an untutored savage, one 
might look- at him and say to all the world, "Every inch a 

So of Cornplanter. Though a half-breed, he was an 
Indian by education and habit ; brave in battle, wise in coun- 
cil, and firm in purpose; faithful to his friends and implaca- 
ble to his enemies. No man can read his eloquent appeal to 
President Washington, in December, 1790, in which he set 
forth the wrongs done to his then humbled and supplicating 
nation, without feeling that his simple eloquence touches a 
cord of sympathy that vibrates in alternate pity and resent- 
ment. His residence was on a reservation given him by the 
State of Pennsylvania, on the Allegheny river; but much 
of his public life was spent in attending councils in this 
vicinity. I saw him once, an aged man, bending under the 
weight of ninety years ; yet he brought to my office, in his 
saddle-bags, all the treaties, on parchment, with his nation, 
and spread them out very deliberately on the floor ; and then, 
commencing with the first, he gave me, through an interpre- 
ter, a succinct history of each, and concluded by saying, in 
his own expressive language, that the "Indians were very 
hungry for their annuities." 

Though there are many others whose biographies should 
be preserved by this society, yet I shall mention but one 
more and that is Red Jacket, the celebrated Indian orator. 


He lived and died and was buried in our vicinity. His life 
has been written by W. L. Stone, but the book is nearly out 
of print. It should be preserved among the archives of this 
society. He was nature's orator, and rose by his oratorical 
powers alone, from the lowest grade to the rank of chief; 
and he exercised a powerful influence in the councils of his 
nation. But his fame, like that of Patrick Henry, must, rest 
mostly on tradition. His figures of speech were bold, beau- 
tiful and striking; but, of course, we have only the skeleton 
of them in the meagre translation of ignorant interpreters, 
who were not skilled either in the Indian or English lan- 
guage. I have often wished that I understood his language, 
and could hear him on some great occasion that called forth 
his utmost powers, that I might compare him with some of 
our own orators whose fame is destined to live forever. 

The hrst time I saw him was in this town in 1822. I had 
read some of his speeches, heard much of his fame, and 1 
looked up to him with a kind of juvenile reverence, such as 
boys are apt to feel for great men at a distance. I solicited 
and obtained an introduction, and he evidently felt flattered 
by the reverential awe with which I looked at him, for I 
could not converse with him. He drew himself up with 
great dignity, and ostentatiously pointed to a silver medal 
suspended upon his breast, and in a few words of broken 
English and with evident pride and satisfaction, gave me 
to understand it was a present from Washington, whom he 
called his friend. 1 

A few hours after, my attention was called to him again, 
and I saw him, apparently unconscious, being dragged along 
by two Indians, who laid him under the shadow of a pile 
oi boards, and left him. He had tasted the Circean draught, 
;and was transformed to a beast. I could not help exclaim- 
ing: "Oh! that men should put an enemy into their mouths, 
to steal away their brains." All the imaginary splendor 
•with which my youthful fancy had adorned this Indian ora- 
xor, vanished in a moment. Alas! how often is it the ca^e 

i. This medal, given by Washington to Red Jacket in 1792, is n- 

O'.vned by the Buffato Historical Society. 


that a nearer view of greatness discover? defects which we 
did not see at a distance. So the traveler, viewing the Alps 
at a distance, fancies that they present a beautifully-rounded 
surface, which he can walk over with ease ; but when he 
approaches them he finds them deformed, with rough, pro- 
jecting crags and deep gorges, that obstruct his passage. 

But, turning from the aboriginals, who would not like to 
know something of the earlier settlers in this region? Fifty 
years ago, the "Holland Purchase" was the land of promise. 
Men gathered here from the four points of the compass, 
and before society amalgamated, or could be toned down 
by attrition, there were many striking original characters. 
It is not too late to rescue from oblivion some sketches of 
these extraordinary men, and daguerreotype the leading 
traits of their characters for the amusement and instruc- 
tion of posterity. Many of these men, who have left their 
mark upon our institutions, could not boast of much book- 
learning ; but they knew the world, and had the courage and 
talent that fitted them to fight successfully the great battle, 
of life. 

The three liberal professions, Divinity, Law and Medi- 
cine, had also their representatives in our infant city; to 
which may well be added a fourth, the public press, which 
is peculiarly rich in historic reminiscences. The names of 
these persons are too numerous to mention here, and to 
select some might appear invidious. I therefore pass them 
over, and call your attention to the various religious and 
charitable institutions, the histories of some of which have 
already been ably given to the public and to these the others 
should be added. 

But, above, all, the history of this city, during the War 
of 1812, should be written and preserved among the archives 
of this society. It is a dark and bloody chapter, filled with 
the horrors of a conflagration of the town in mid-winter and 
the misery of the fugitives flying from the terrific scene, and 
the tomahawk and scalping-knife. But even this dark pic- 
ture may be relieved by some deeds of heroism and gene- 


Finally, let this institution be the grand repository of 
everything calculated to throw light on our history. Books, 
newspapers, letters., pamphlets, maps, medals, and relics of 
every description, should be deposited here ; and let our citi- 
zens unite heart and hand in building up this society, which, 
while it does justice to the dead, reflects honor upon the 



At the inauguration of the Great Central Fair in Buffalo, 
under the auspices of the Christian Commission, opened in 
St. James Hall, February 22, 1864, the following address 
was delivered by ex-President Fillmore: 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Great Central Fair 
OF Buffalo : I congratulate you on the return of this aus- 
picious day. It is the anniversary of the birth of Washing- 
ton, the Father of his Country, of whom it has been truly 
said, he was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the 
hearts of his countrymen." 

Many of you who were here thirty-two years ago today, 
when this proud city was just emerging from the chrysalis 
state of a country village and assuming the title, if not the 
regalia of the Queen City of the Lakes, will recollect with 
what enthusiasm and gorgeous display the centennial anni- 
versary 1 was celebrated in this city. An immense procession, 
with banners and music, traversed our streets. Agriculture 
had then its rude implements carried in the train ; but there 
were no mowing machines, no reaping machines, and no 
threshing machines. The few mechanic arts which were 
then struggling for a foothold in this rising town, living on 
hope, rather than enjoying the full fruition of their labor, 
were represented by their appropriate banners and tools ; 
but nothing that indicated the presence of the railroads, or 

1. The centennial of Washington's birth was February 22, 1832. Buffalo 
was born — as a city — April 20, 1S32. Buffalo's civic anniversaries, therefore, 
are always, so far as the year is concerned, Washington anniversaries as well. 



the gigantic power of stationary steam engines, or that mine 
of wealth now found in the iron manufactures of our city. 
The printing press moved along in the procession, throw- 
ing off its sheets to the eager multitude that they might read 
and run; but it dispensed no telegraphic news of startling 
importance to be contradicted the next day ; but nevertheless 
it was a joyous, happy occasion, for the nation was at peace, 
blessed with prosperity, and as yet no parricidal hand had 
plunged a dagger into the heart of the Constitution. All was 
joy — all was hope — all was prosperity. 

Since then, railroads have been built ; telegraphs invented 
and constructed, till the whole country is checkered with 
these facilities of travel and correspondence, and numerous 
labor-saving machines have been invented and brought into 
use, and our beloved country has enjoyed years of prosperity 
and happiness. 

But now, alas! all this is changed. Three years of civil 
Avar have desolated the fairest portion of our land, loaded 
the country with an enormous debt that the sweat of millions 
yet unborn must be taxed to pay; arrayed brother against 
brother, and father against son in mortal combat; deluged 
our country with fraternal blood, whitened our battle-fields 
with the bones of the slain, and darkened the sky with the 
pall of mourning. Yet these appalling calamities — which as 
yet have touched our city more lightly than any other in the 
land — have imposed upon us new duties which must be 
promptly met and generously discharged ; and new burdens 
which must be patiently and cheerfully borne. 

We can not, in our humble capacity, control the events of 
this desolating war. We hear its thunders and mark the 
track of desolation, and we must meet the emergency as best 
we can ; but never despair of the Republic. It is no time 
now to enquire whether it might have been avoided. Let 
those who seek light on this subject, read Washington's 
Farewell Address. Nor are we now to criticise the conduct 
of those who control it. awarding praise here and bestowing 
censure there. The impartial historian will do this when 
the passions engendered by the strife have cooled, and par- 


tisan prejudice, petty jealousies, malignant envy, and in- 
triguing, selfish ambition shall be laid in the dust, and, it is 
hoped, buried in oblivion. And much less are we called 
upon to predict when or how this war will end. Let those 
who seek light on this subject, read General Jackson's Fare- 
well Address. 1 

But let us hope that an all-wise and merciful Providence 
will incline the hearts of the people, North and South, to 
peace — to a lasting peace, with a restored Union, cemented 
by fraternal affection, under our well-tried and glorious 

Nor is this the time or place to express an opinion as to 
the policy that should be pursued to reach so desirable an 
end. But one thing is clear, that much must be forgiven, if 
not forgotten, on both sides, before this Union can ever be 
restored ; and therefore, it is to be hoped that all unneces- 
sary act^ of cruelty, or wanton destruction of private prop- 
erty, or insult, or insolence in triumphing over a fallen foe 
should be avoided : for all such acts only fire the heart of 
our adversary with resentment and revenge, and thus pro- 
tract the war. increase its horrors, and leave a sting which 
will render reunion more difficult, if not impossible. 

But it must be apparent to all that the first step towards 
bringing this war to a close, is to conquer the rebel army. 
Any negotiations for peace before this is done would prove 
abortive ; and any proffered clemency to those in arms who 
defy our power, would be a mockery which would be treated 
with ridicule and contempt. But when we have conquered 
their armies, and disposed of their leaders, then let us show 
our magnanimity and generosity by winning back the de- 
luded multitude who have htcn seduced or coerced into this 

i. General Jackson's prediction, in the Farewell Address referred to, was 
that agitation of subjects which would estrange North from South — specifically, 
slavery — would lead inevitably to disruption and the destruction of the Govern- 
ment. "If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider 
and wider. . . . The first line of separation would not last for a single 
generation; new fragments would be torn off; new leaders would spring up; 
and this great and glorious Republic would soon be broken into a multitude 
of petty States," etc. Mr. Fillmore shared Jackson's views — and as the Civil 
War showed, both were mistaken. 


rebellion, by extending to them every act of clemency and 
kindness in our power, and by restoring them to all their 
rights under the Constitution. This I conceive to be Chris- 
tian forgiveness and the best policy and the only one which 
can ever restore this Union. 

But to accomplish this, the Administration must be sup- 
ported in all constitutional efforts to conquer and disperse 
the rebel army ; and here let me remark that present appear- 
ances indicate a more bloody campaign the ensuing season 
than we have yet had. The course of events has done much 
to incite the South and intensify its hatred to the North, and 
desperation will lend energy and boldness to their efforts. 
It is never wise to underestimate the power of your adver- 
sary. We must, therefore, give up the contest and consent 
to dissolution, which, I venture to say, no man who loves his 
country is prepared to do, or we must send an army into the 
field sufficiently strong to insure success ; for if we do not 
conquer and disperse the rebel army the ensuing campaign, 
the war may be protracted indefinitely, and finally end in a 
separation, dishonor and utter ruin of the country. 

I say, therefore, that the Administration must have suffi- 
cient men and money, and this, though we may not always 
approve of the use that is made of either. We can only act 
in this matter as through the powers that be. Any other 
course would produce counter-revolution that would end in 

And there is nothing which we can do at this time which 
will give more aid than to provide for the wants, physical 
and spiritual, of the sick and wounded soldier. Let him feel 
when he goes to the battle-field, that we appreciate the sacri- 
fices he makes and the dangers he is to encounter. Let him 
know that we think he takes his life in his hands from patri- 
otic motives, to save us and our country, and that he is fol- 
lowed in his perilous undertaking by our affectionate prayers 
for his welfare and success, and that we are doing what we 
can at home to provide against the casualties of war and 
assuage the griefs of sickness. And especially let this be 
done, as it is here, by the women of our laud. Remember 


that every soldier has a mother, a sister, a wife, or a sweet- 
heartland it is to him an inspiring thought that she is watch- 
ing liis progress and ministering to his wants. Such a 
thought will nerve his arm in battle and mitigate his suffer- 
ings in sickness, and do more than aught else to keep him 
in the path of virtue. 

Therefore, my dear friends, go on with your good work. 
Your sisters are engaged in like efforts in every town and 
city in the land. Let there be generous rivalry and no 
jealousies. Let no one envy the success of a rival society, 
but rather seek to emulate it in its efforts to do good. There 
is work enough for all, and God's blessing will follow those 
who give their time and money with a willing and generous 
hand, for the sole object of relieving want and assuaging 
grief. This is a work for all — even the Quakers and non- 
resistants may and should join you here. 

I know that your efforts have been great. I know that 
you have spared no pains or labor, and I trust that your 
noble and praiseworthy exertions will be crowned with 
success. I can truly say that I am proud of my country- 
women for what they have done, and for what they are 
doing to mitigate the evils of war. Many have left their 
comfortable homes and dear friends, and become nurses — 
aye, ministering angels — in our hospitals, watching over 
the dying soldier with maternal tenderness, and catching 
his last affectionate whisper to be transmitted to loved ones 
at home. England is proud, and justly proud, of her 
Florence Nightingale. The fame of the warrior is supposed 
to be the most enduring, but the names of the commanders 
of the Crimean armies will be buried in oblivion when that 
of Florence Nightingale will shine with undiminished lustre. 
And has not America her Nightingales? Yes, many, though 
less conspicuous ; but she has one who has devoted her life 
to alleviate the sufferings of humanity, and many a State 
lunatic asylum attests her disinterested devotion. Since this 
war began she has given her days and nights without com- 
pensation to the service of the hospitals. She is a true and 
noble type of womanhood, whose disinterested and humane 


efforts are only equalled by her retiring modesty and femin- 
ine delicacy, and when justice shall be done to those noble 
women who have devoted their best energies to relieve the 
sufferings "which flesh is heir to," the name of Miss Dix * 
will be no less conspicuous and deserving than that of 
Florence Nightingale. 

But you are all Dixes and Nightingales in your several 
spheres, and He who judges the heart and the deed will 
reward you according to your merits. 2 

i. Dorothea L. Dix, famous for her work for paupers and the insane, 
and in the prisons and hospitals for Union prisoners during the Civil War. 

2. This address is here printed as it appeared in the Buffalo Morning 
Express, February 24. 1864. It is practically identical with the report as given 
by the Courier and Commercial, of which the latter journal said: "The only 
thing that marred the harmony of the proceedings . . . was the speech of 
its venerable president, ex-President Fillmore. We give his remarks as toned 
down . . . We should have been glad to have placed upon record some 
words from Mr. Fillmore which would have identified him with the friends 
of the Government and the Union, instead of being obbged to class hirn, as 
we now do, amongst the bitterest opponents of the war and its conduct, in the 
infamous circle made up of such men as Vallandigham, the Woods, the 
Seymours and the Brooks[es]." {Commercial Advertiser, February 23, 1864.) 
A few days later (March 7) the same paper said: "Tnere is no doubt that 
Mr. Fillmore discovered from the reception of his remarks that he had gone too 
far in his advances toward Copperhead ism. and with characteristic caution he 
undertook to beat a retreat by striking out some of the most offensive portions 
when he prepared Ids speech for the press. Our remarks, at tint time, were 
simply a reflex of the public sentiment, and we have not 2 word of regret to 
express for the part we took in the controversy; thougii we did then and do 
now, regret that the occasion should have been seized by Mr. Fillmore, for 
such an untimely and unseemly exhibition of insane craving after a lost political 
position, even at the expense of all those principles which had made him what 
he was, and secured him the respect, at least, of the whole country. So long- 
as Mr. Fillmore contented himself with that retired position in the political 
world which he is so eminently calculated to adorn, he was entitled to the 
consideration due to the dignity of his personal character, and to the remem- 
brance of the high official station he once held. No one has been mure ready 
to accord this respectful consideration than we have; and certainly no com- 
munity could have evirreed a greater pride in one of it's eminent citizens than 
has this community in Mr. Fillmore. Indeed, we might almost say, that this 
respect on the part of our citizens, has been likely to degenerate into the 
merest toadyism. ft was reserved for Mr. Fillmore himself to shatter the 
idol thus reared in his home." The heat in which these words were written 
was slow in subsiding; but it did for the most part die out, long before the 
decade which remained of Mr. Fillmore's span of life had passed; though 
certain of his neighbors and former friends, themselves intensely and nobly- 
loyal to the Union, could never see that there might also be loyalty in the 
attitude of Mr. Fillmore. The generation which has grown up since the Civil 
War can form little conception of the bitter reproach carried in the epithet 
"Copperhead." Yet that this eminent citizen, to whom that obnoxious epithet 
was so freely applied, held ever to lofty and consistent views of patriotism and 
the duty of the citizen, must be the verdict of any study of his career which 
is made without prejudice. 



In the early days of the Buffalo Historical Society the 
members met at each other's houses and listened to papers 
which presented some phase of early Western New York 
history. At such a meeting, on the evenings of February 13 
and 20, 1865, Mr. Fillmore gave the following reminiscences 
of two early lawyers of Buffalo with whom he was associ- 
ated at the beginning of his own legal career—Asa Rice and 
Joseph Clary. 1 

Gentlemen: This society having assigned to me the 
task of preparing a biographical sketch of Asa Rice, I shall 
proceed to the discharge of that duty without apology or 
circumlocution: But it is due to the subject of this sketch 
that I should explain why it is so brief and meager of 

Mr. has been dead more than forty years, and few 
remain who were old enough to appreciate his talents when 
he stood among the first, if he was not the very first, advo- 
cate at the bar of Erie County. I have sought in vain for 
any one who knew the day or place of his birth or anything 
of his genealogy. I am, therefore, compelled to omit these 
interesting, though comparatively unimportant events. But 
for this I find a celebrated precedent. Plutarch, the classic 
biographer of Greece and Rome, wrote the life of Julius 
Caesar, one of the greatest men of antiquity, in which he 

1. The papers on Asa Rice and Joseph Clary are here printed from Mr. 
Fillmore's original manuscript, in the possession of the Buffalo Historical 



gives neither the time nor place of his birth ; and although 
historians have given us his birth 100 years before the 
Christian Era, yet no one whose work has fallen under my 
observation, has given the place of his nativity. 

Justifying myself, therefore, under this illustrious ex- 
ample of omission, I proceed to state the little I have been 
able to learn of the li£g and character of Asa Rice. 

I find in the Buffalo Patriot of Tuesday, June 3, 1823, 
under the obituary head the following announcement : 

"Died, in this village, on Wednesday last, Asa Rice, Esq., Coun- 
sellor at law, of a pulmonary disease, aged ss^ 

If this notice be correct — and I see no reason to doubt it 
— he was born some time in the year 178S, and died in 
Buffalo on the 28th of May, 1823. 

From the best information I can obtain he — like many 
other men of our country who have distinguished them- 
selves at the bar and in the. Senate — lacked the advantages of 
a classic education. I say advantages, for I have often 
keenly felt them to be such, though they are not always 
indispensable to success. He studied his profession with 
those eminent lawyers, Messrs. Gould & Sill of Whites- 
borough, Oneida County, and was probably admitted as an 
attorney to the Supreme Court about 1S12 or 18 13, when 
he settled at Eagle village, in Manlius, Onondaga County. 
He probably resided there till the winter or spring of 1817, 
when he removed to Buffalo. Learning from some letters 
that James R. Lawrence, Esq., a distinguished member of 
the bar in Syracuse, had some connection with him in busi- 
ness while he resided at Manlius, I addressed a letter of 
inquiry to him, and as his reply give? about all I have been 
able to learn of Mr. Rice's life while there, I shall give 
what he says on this subject in his own words: 

Syracuse, Deer. 6, 1864. 

My dear Sir: I have your favor of the 2d instant, in relation to 

the biography of the late Asa Rice, Esq. I knew Mr. Rice well 

while he resided in this county and often saw him and his wife in 

Buffalo after he removed there. I was connected with him in busi- 


ness to some extent in 1814 at Eagle village in the town of Manlius 
in this county. The late Sheldon Smith, Esq., afterwards mayor 
oi your city, was then a student in the office of Mr. Rice. 

You are correct in saying that Mr. Rice studied his profession 
with Gold & Sill, Esqrs., of Whitesborough, but I know nothing of 
his history before that, nor that of his family, except that I have 
often heard of his brother, who was somewhat distinguished as a 
lawyer in Washington County, as I supposed — you say Troy — and 
perhaps he removed to Troy. I can only say of Mr. Rice that he 
was an astute and able lawyer ; a strong and logical reasoner — more 
solid than brilliant; a good English scholar, and few men were more 
successful before a jury. I attributed his success in this respect to 
his well-known integrity of character; the clearness of his deduc- 
tions, and illustrations ; the candor he exhibited, accompanied by a 
peculiar grace and solemn manner which seemed almost irresistible. 
The bar of this county at that time consisted of many of the most 
eminent lawyers in the Stale, among whom I name Nicholas P. 
Randal of Manlius village, Daniel Kellogg of Skeneatelas, Medad 
Curtis of Onondaga, Joshua Forman and William H. Sabin of 
Onondaga Hollow. Mr. Rice never feared to encounter any of 
them, although by many years his seniors. 

He was a remarkably diligent student, and never went to the 
trial or argument of a cause of any considerable magnitude, with- 
out a brief carefully and laboriously prepared. 

At that time we had but few Chancery lawyers, and Mr. Rice was 
early admitted to practice in that court, and did most of the busi- 
ness in that department originating in Madison County and con- 
siderable in this. 

Eagle village, where he resided, was then one of our largest vil- 
lages; the place of business of Chas. B. Bristol, one of our largest 
merchants and business men, and but eight miles from Cazenovia 
(the then county seat of Madison County). Mr. Rice's professional 
business was as much in that as in this county, but it was too small 
a place for his ambition ; he saw your Oueen City in the distance 
and resolved to go there. But it was obvious to his friends that 
disease (dyspepsia) was upon him to an alarming extent before 
he left here ; which I always attributed to his close confinement 
to his office. It never left him. When I saw him last at Buffalo he 
was confined to his house, and was aware of the feeble tenure of 
his life. He talked about it freely, philosophically and calmly — 
expressed his willingness to go hence whenever it pleased his Maker. 
You know the results. As ever your friend, 

James R. Lawrence. 


My acquaintance with Mr. Rice was only for a single 
year. I first knew him in March, 1822, when I entered his 
office as a strdent at law. He was then a partner 01 his 
brother-in-law, Joseph Clary, whose sister he had married, 
and they occupied a small one-story wooden building — prob- 
ably built expressly for a law office — on the east side of 
Main street a little north of the corner of Lafayette street; 
and I think his dwelling-house was at or near the northwest 
corner of Main and Chippewa streets. 

In personal appearance, Mr. Rice was a man of medium 
height, rather spare, dark or sallow complexion, black hair, 
and keen black eyes ; and already showing unmistakable 
signs of that fell disease which terminated his life. I regard 
consumption as one of the most deceitful and treacherous 
"ills that flesh is heir to." It seems to sport with human 
life as the cat does with her victim ; now loosening its grasp 
and giving hope to the sufferer and his friends, but never 
suffering its victim to escape, it suddenly dashes our hopes, 
mocks at our disappointment and consigns its wretched 
victim to the grave. This sad anticipation was upon him 
when I first knew him, and though it doubtless impaired his 
energies, yet he was always cheerful and genial and devoted 
himself to the duties of his profession with untiring indus- 
try. He was a very successful advocate before a jury and 
probably for reasons assigned by General Lawrence. He 
was a professor of religion and I think a member of the 
First Presbyterian Church in this city. His intercourse with 
society was frank, cordial and pleasant and won the confi- 
dence and good feeling of his clients. 

He was not only distinguished for his logical and argu- 
mentative powers but also for his ready wit and repartee. 
One well authenticated anecdote that is told of him will 
illustrate this. There was an odd genius living here at that 
time by the name of Beebe who had such a desire to attract 
attention that he painted his store black, and he seemed to 
delight in every vulgar art that gave him notoriety. Beebe 
had got a yearling colt in the spring when he had about half 
shed his coat, with his tail and mane full of burdock burrs, 


and after bespattering this ragged, woe-begone animal well 
with mud he placed a pair of leather spectacles or goggles 
upon him and thus caparisoned was leading him through the 
street when he met Mr. Rice, who said to him in a jocular 
way : 

"Whiat have you got there, Mr. Beebe?" 

To which Beebe replied, "A pettifogger." 

"Ah ! I thought so," said Mr. Rice, "by the looks of his 

The bar of this county was at that time somewhat distin- 
guished for its talent and originality. Not to mention the 
few who survive, there was Albert H. Tracy, then a popu- 
lar Representative in Congress, a well-read and indefati- 
gable lawyer, who, though more fluent in conversation than 
when speaking in public, was an able and astute reasoner, 
and a most plausible and successful advocate before a jury. 

There was Judge Walden, who, though he said nothing, 
"looked unutterable things"; a man of sound judgment and 
unsullied integrity, who was most cordially hated by James 
Sheldon, who delighted in holding him up to ridicule. One 
instance of this will show the animus and mode of execution. 
Judge Walden was our Member of Assembly and while 
attending the session, Mr. Sheldon visited Albany, and 
when come back was asked how Walden was getting on in 
the Assembly. 

"Well," said Sheldon, "about as well as could be expected. 
While I was in Albany I met a boy with a basketful of 
pamphlets, crying Mr. Walden's speech in the Assembly. 
So I bought one, and on opening it I found all but the title- 
page an entire blank, and feeling myself cheated, I turned 
to, the boy and said, 'You little rascal, there is nothing in 
this/ The boy putting his thumb to his nose replied, 'Just 
what he said, sir'." 

Then there was Thomas C. Love, great on great occa- 
sions when his feelings and sympathies were fully aroused, 
but chiefly noted for his untiring industry and unswerving 
integrity; a hard speaker with an awkward address and 
manner, but withal a successful practitioner. 


And lastly — for I can not name more — there was old 
Counsellor Root, who drank whiskey and made more witty 
speeches than any other member of the bar. The anecdotes 
of him are numerous and well authenticated, but some were 
not very refined, and would hardly bear repetition here. 
One, however, though occurring at Batavia, I will venture 
to repeat by way of illustration. 

Mr. Root was summing up a cause before a jury in the 
Common Pleas, when one of the side judges thought he 
misstated the testimony and he interrupted Mr. Root, when 
the following colloquy took place: 

Judge — Mr. Root, you do not state that testimony cor- 
rectly; the witness did not swear as you say he did. 

Root (turning contemptuously to the Court) — I think 
your Honor lies — (a long pause; — under a little mistake. 

Judge (assuming a magisterial air) — Mr. Root, you must 
put your words a little closer together. You must recollect 
that this is a court of justice and we do not sit here to be 

Root — This a court of justice! I would that there was 
but a guide-board on the side of this court pointing towards 

Judge — Mr. Root, sit down, you are drunk. 

Root — Right, your Honor! It is the only correct decision 
your Honor has made this term. 

With all these and many others Mr. Rice had to contend, 
and yet neither his self-possession nor his resources ever 
failed him. On the contrary, he was always equal to the 
occasion. In addressing a jury his plausible manner was 
such that an old farmer in my hearing called him "the 
smoothing [lane." He had more than his share, I should 
think, of all litigated business, but that was not then so 
profitable as collecting, and of this he got very little: for I 
regret to say, though truth compels rne to do so, that he 
had a failing;, unfortunately too common to many great 
men — he neglected his pecuniary obligations until he lost 
his credit, and finally became insensible to the shame and 
dishonor that attached to his habitual failure ; until he was 


charged by many with intentional dishonesty. He even 
neglected to pay over his clients' money which had come 
into his hands, and consequently lost the most profitable 
business of his profession, and went down to the grave with 
this stigma upon his reputation, a dreadful warning to all 
young men to maintain an unsullied reputation for prompt- 
ness and punctuality in all moneyed transactions. But I 
must do him the justice to say that I do not think he was 
intentionally dishonest. This negligent habit had com- 
menced early in life, growing with his growth and strength- 
ening with his years, until he gradually became insensible 
to duns and indifferent to his honor. 

But let us not judge him too harshly, for no human char- 
acter is ever perfect. Even the sun has its spots, and the 
greatest and best men have had their faults ; nevertheless, as 
the use of Biography is to hold up examples of virtue and 
integrity for emulation, so should we mention vices and 
faults, and point them out in our charts as rocks and quick- 
sands to be avoided by the young in the voyage of life. But 
the few who knew Mr. Rice, will, notwithstanding this 
fault, cherish his memory for his warm-hearted genial man- 
ners, and his shining talents, and drop a tear over his un- 
timely grave. 



In compliance with the request of the Buffalo Historical 
Society, I proceed to give a sketch of the life of Joseph 
Clary, whom, when living", I esteemed as a friend and for 
whose memory I entertain the highest respect ; nevertheless 
I intend no eulogy, but to speak of him as he was, adding 
nothing to his virtues and subtracting nothing from his 
merits ; but as far as possible I shall present a simple narra- 
tive of facts, unadorned by the flowers of rhetoric, or the 
attractions of exaggeration. 

As some apology, however, for the meagerness of this 
sketch, it must be borne in mind that Mr. Clary has been 
dead nearly a quarter of a century; that his early life was 
spent at a distance from here, and that he has left no relative 
in this place capable of giving any information as to his 
habits or pursuits before he came to Buffalo to reside. But 
from the best information which I have been able to obtain, 
he was born in Paris, Oneida County, on the ist day of 
November, 1792. Little or nothing is known of his father, 
but his mother — whose maiden name was Mary Holt (the 
•sister of the wife of the celebrated Doctor White of Cherry 
Valley) — seems to have been a remarkable woman, much 
respected through life, and to whom her son felt a filial 
devotion. It is to be inferred that she was left a widow 
while Joseph was very young, as tradition says that when a 
boy he was sent to live with a farmer in Richfield, Otsego 
County, then an adjoining town to Paris. During the time 
he remained on a farm he was doubtless employed as other 
hired boys are in similar situations. He learned something 


of agriculture, knew what it was to work hard all day, and 
bleep soundly at night, and though this gave him a robust 
constitution and inured him to labor, yet probably his liter- 
ary advantages were, small. 

But on the 4th of February, 1803, his mother married 
John Diehl, a widower and country merchant of Cherry 
Valley (Joseph then being in his eleventh year), and this 
marriage changed his pursuits and worldly prospects. He 
was a smart, bright, active boy and his stepfather took him 
into his store as a clerk, where he remained until the death 
of Mr. Diehl on the 19th of May, 1813, Joseph then being 
in his twenty-first year. That this arrangement was mutu- 
ally satisfactory, and that the marriage of his mother was a 
happy one, is fairly to be inferred from the fact that he was 
contented to remain there, and from the still more signif- 
icant fact, that his stepfather by his will permitted Joseph to 
share equally of his property with a child by his former 
wife. Such an act shows how much he was beloved by his 
stepfather, and proves that his conduct had merited this 

After the death of Mr. Diehl he was compelled to launch 
forth into the. world for himself, but being of a self-reliant, 
enterprising nature, he formed a partnership with his broth- 
er-in-law, Nathaniel R. Packard, and they commenced trade 
as country merchants in Cherry Valley. In this he seems 
to have been unsuccessful, as many have been before and 
many will be hereafter. 

His failure induced him to turn his attention in another 
direction, and the next we hear of him is as a student at 
law in the office of Hammond & Beardsley 1 in Cherry Valley. 

1. As many a reader will no doubt recognize, this firm name stands for 
much in New York State history. The senior member, Hon. Jabez D. Hammond, 
began law practice at Cherry Valley in 1804. Levi Beardsley studied law with 
him and became his partner in 1812, the firm continuing until 1822. Judge 
Hammond served in the State Senate, was a Representative in Congress, and 
for many years active and influential in political affairs in New York State. 
His hest service to the student of history is his two-volume "History of Politi- 
cal Parties in the State of New York" (Buffalo: Phinney & Co., 1S30), sup- 
plemented by his "Life and Times of Silas Wright." (Syracuse, 1S48.) His 
partner, Levi Beardsley, served in the State Senate, 1830-38, being President 
thereof in his last term; and was the author of a volume of "Reminiscences" 
(New York, 1S52), containing much valuable history, especially of Central and 
Western New York. 


How long he remained in their office is uncertain, but from 
a letter which I have seen from Morse & Stuart of the same, it seems that in May.. 1817, he was a student with 
them, for they say: ''Joseph is a clerk in our office and will 
make a good lawyer." He was now in his twenty-fifth year 
with probably little of that peculiar education that fitted him 
for the profession upon which he had just entered. But he 
was not a man to be discouraged by obstacles or diverted 
from the pursuit of a favorite object by trifles. He con- 
tinued his studies in that office until the spring of 1820, 
when, after repeated letters from his brother-in-law, Mr. 
Asa Rice, urging him to do so, he came to Buffalo and 
formed a partnership with him in the practice of the law. 

Mr. Clary was a practical surveyor, and for several years 
after he came here devoted much of his time to that employ- 
ment, thereby giving himself healthy outdoor exercise, and 
admirably qualifying him as a conveyancer, and throwing 
much of that business into his hands as a lawyer. 

On the 14th of February, 1821 (then being in his twenty- 
ninth year), he was admitted as attorney and counsellor of 
the Erie County Common Pleas, and with Mr. Rice com- 
menced business in his own name. On the 16th of August, 
1822, he was admitted as an attorney of the Supreme Court, 
and very soon his energetic business talents began to be 
known and appreciated here, and on the 17th of December 
of that year he was appointed attorney and clerk of the vil- 
lage of Buffalo, during the absence of Gorham Chapin. 

In 1823 or 1824 he w r as appointed clerk of the Board of 
Supervisors, and served as such for several years, but the 
exact time I cannot state, as the records of that office are 
either lost or in such confusion that the present clerk ha? 
been unable to find those for that period. 

Mr. Rice's failing health at this time compelled him to 
discontinue business, and in March, 1823. Mr. Clary and I 
formed a partnership by the terms of which I was to keep 
an office in the town of Aurora and he in Buffalo, and he 
was to have one half of the profits of business coming 
through my office, and I one quarter of that coming through 


his; but business was light, and the profits very small, and 
finally a dissolution took place by mutual consent. 

On the 28th of May, 1824, he was admitted to practice 
as solicitor in the Court of Equity for the Eighth Circuit, 
and on the nth of October, 1825, he was appointed a Jus- 
tice of the Peace, and continued to hold that office by elec- 
tion till the 31st of December, 1833, more than eight years. 
During most of the time that he acted as Justice of the 
Peace he continued the practice of his profession, and in 
April, 1830, he and I formed another partnership x for three 
years, and I removed to Buffalo, but that partnership was 
dissolved by mutual consent in November, 1832. 

At the general election of 1833 he was with great dif- 
ficulty persuaded to run for the Assembly, but finally con- 
sented and was elected, and attended the session of 1834; 
he, however, positively declined a reelection, much to the 
regret of his friends and constituents. But to return. 

On the 2d of June, 1828, he was elected a trustee of the. 
village of Buffalo, and immediately appointed president of 
the board, and he was re-appointed to the same office in 
1830. On the 14th of January, 1830, he was admitted to 
practice as solicitor and counsellor in the Court of Chancery, 

1. In the Buffalo Journal from May, 1S30, appears the following card: 
"JOSEPH CLARY & MILLERD FILLMORE, Attorneys and Counsellors at 
Law, and Solicitors and Counsellors in Chancery, have formed a co-partnership, 
and opened an office three doors south of the Eagle Tavern, Main-street, 
Buffalo." In 1834 was formed the partnership of Fillmore & Hall; and on 
January 10, 1836, that of Fillmore, Hall & Haven. Judge Hall retired from 
the firm in May, 1839, but Mr. Fillmore and Mr. Haven continued together 
in active practice until the fall of 1847, when Mr. Fillmore was elected 
Comptroller of the State. Dennis Bowen, who studied law with Fillmore, 
Hall & Haven, formed a partnership with Judge Hall in 1842. The business 
thus established continues to the present day, with various changes of partners. 
It has been prominent as Rogers & Bowen, and Bowen & Rogers. In 1S55 it- 
was Rogers, Bowen & Rogers, and a young student in the office, afterwards 
managing clerk for the firm, was Grover Cleveland. In later years the firm 
has been that of Bowen, Rogers & Locke; Rogers, Locke & Miiburn; and is 
now Rogers, Locke & Babcock; and it claims the unique distinction of being 
the only law firm that has furnished from its office two Presidents of the 
United States. President Cleveland made his law-partner, Wilson S. Bissell, 
Postmaster-General, as President Fillmore had made his former partner. Judge 
Hall was Postmaster-General from July 23, 1850, to September 13, 1852, and in 
September, 1851, was acting Secretary of the Interior. 


and the next day as counsellor in the Supreme Court; 
this comprises the record of his professional and official life. 

In his profession he was an excellent business man, and 
office lawyer, dispatching whatever he had to do with 
promptness and energy ; but he made no efforts to distin- 
guish himself as an advocate. A natural modesty and dif- 
fidence seemed to chain his tongue and embarrass him when 
he attempted to speak in public; though he was fluent in 
private conversation, and related an anecdote with great 
humor and striking effect. In the discharge of his office 
duties, no man was more laborious and conscientious. His 
judgment, which was always clear and upright, dictated his 
action, and no man ever suspected that he permitted his 
prejudices or passions to interfere with or swerve his action 
from what he deemed to be right. Hence he had the con- 
fidence of all and was universally popular. 

In his domestic relations he was fortunate and happy. 
His success in business procured for him an independent 
fortune and he knew how to enjoy it. He speculated some 
in real estate, and was always successful, for his operations 
were all guided by a clear intellect and a cool and dispas- 
sionate judgment. He avoided the gambling speculations 
of 1835-36, — when so many of our best men were ruined — 
because he had no confidence in them. The boasts of those 
who had made princely fortunes in a day excited neither 
his admiration nor envy. He pursued the even tenor of his 
way and calmly and patiently waited the result. 

In the spring of 1826 he commenced the erection of a 
wooden dwelling-house on the northwest corner of Frank- 
lin and Mohawk streets, which was finished and rented but 
not occupied by him till some time after his marriage. For 
nearly ten years after he came to Buffalo he lived a bachelor, 
boarding at the Eagle Tavern, kept by that prince of hotel- 
keepers, Benjamin Rathbun. where his fellow-boarders were 
William A. Moseley, Stephen G. Austin. Joseph Dart. 
Samuel C. Brewster, Guy H. Goodrich, David Burt, D. 
Benjamin, C. Congdon, Dr. H. R. Stagg, Henry E. Davies, 
Ira A. Blossom, Thomas Blossom, Thomas C. Love, Flora- 


tio Shumway, Dr. William Shelton, Lewis F. Allen, George 
R. Babcock, John C. Lord, and many others too numerous 
to mention, and with all I believe he not only lived on 
amicable terms, but was regarded as a good whole-souled 
fellow and delightful companion. 

But on the 1st day of February, 1830, he married Maria 
T. Rathbun, daughter of Samuel Rathbun, Esq., a 'wholesale 
dry-goods merchant of Xew York, and soon after com- 
menced housekeeping in his new house where he continued 
to reside till his death. His house was always distinguished 
for a liberal hospitality, which was dispensed with equal 
grace and munificence by himself and his accomplished 
lady, as many now living here can testify. 

But in 1836 an unexpected occurrence took place that 
not only cast a shadow over his business prospects and 
happy days, but probably laid the foundation of that disease 
that afterwards proved fatal. 1 allude to the failure of 
Benjamin Rathbun in that year. Rathbun had exhibited 
a Napoleonic grasp of mind in business affairs, and he had 
managed to engross and control most of the business opera- 
tions of Buffalo, and under the belief that he was advancing 
the material prosperity of our infant city, he had induced 
several of our most wealthy men, of whom Air. Clary was 
one, to endorse his notes to the amount of $15,000. He 
failed in August and made an assignment of ail of his prop- 
erty for the benefit of his creditors and he appointed Mr. 
Clary one of his assignees, and it was discovered that he had 
committed forgeries to a large amount by multiplying indefi- 
nitely the notes thus endorsed. The endorsements were so 
skilfully forged that it was difficult to distinguish the bad 
from the good, and this put in jeopard}' the whole wealth 
of all the endorsers, and consequently was a subject of great 
anxiety to them all. In addition to this, Mr. Clary took 
upon himself the whole burden of the assignment, and 
became the chief, if not the sole acting assignee. And in 
addition to all this, Mr. Rathbun had in his employ at the 
time of his failure some 2500 workmen of ail nations and 
tongues, and they were among the preferred creditors, but 

I. There is no more striking figure in all the earlier history of Buffalo 
than Benjamin Rathbun, whose enterprises, forgeries, failure and conviction 
make a unique chapter in the annals of the town. He was born in Otsego 
County, New York, about 1789, but came to Buffalo from Sandusky, O., in 
1821. He was proprietor of the Eagle Tavern till about 1830. His enterprises 
were many; he became a large employer of labor and projected buildings and 
other improvements on a bold scale. His most ambitious project was the 
proposed City Exchange, construction of which was begun on Main street, 
between North and South Division streets. It was to be a vast colonnaded 
building, with a tower 220 feet high. (A picture of it is preserved by the 
Buffalo Historical Society.) On August 3, 1S36, he was arrested on a charge 
of forgery, as was also his brother Lyman. It was said that, though instigating 
and directing the perpetration of immense frauds, Benjamin Rathbun himself 
never forged the name of a single endorser. This was the work, it was stated, 
of his brother Lyman and two nephews, Rathbun Allen and Lyman Rathbun 
Httlett, The names that were forged were all of prominent men of Buffalo — 
Lewis P. Allen, Noycs Harrow, Thomas C. Love, Joseph Clary, Hiram Pratt, 
Ira A. Blossom, John W. Clark, Joseph Dart, Jr., Charles Townsend, Ebenezer 
Johnson and Sheldon Thompson. On the first trial of Benjamin Rathbun, begun 
at Batavia March 29, 1S37, the jury failed to agree. On the second trial, 
September, 1838, he was sentenced to five years at har'd labor in Auburn prison. 
He served the full term, refusing to ask for a pardon. On his release he 
returned to Buffalo, but soon went to New York, where he opened Rathbun's 
Hotel on Broadway, which he conducted with fait success for many years. 
At his death, which occurred at Ft. Washington, July 20, 1S73, he was said to 
have a property worth $75,000 or upwards. Some note of Mr. Fillmore's con- 
nection with the Rathbun failure, as an assignee, will be found in the Introduc- 
tion of the preceding volume. 


fearing that they were to be cheated out of their pay they 
threatened to plunder Rathbun's stores, and the assignees 
supposing that there were assets sufficient to pay the pre- 
ferred class, paid off the workmen to prevent a riot : but it 
turned out that there was only enough to pay about fifty 
cents on the dollar to the preferred creditors, and then an 
effort was made to charge the assignees with what they had 
paid the workmen. Mr. Clary had a herculean task in the 
mere labor which he had to perform for six years to close 
up this business, and this, with the great anxiety of mind 
growing out of the circumstances weighed heavily upon 
him. His strong, vigorous constitution began to give way 
under the pressure, but still he persevered in the perform- 
ance of his duty till the whole thing was closed and a decree 
of exoneration and discharge entered by the chancellor. 1 

But as the excitement passed off he sank immediately. 
Re went from Saratoga, where the decree was entered, to 


New York, but finding himself so unwell he hastened home 
and on reaching his own house he was perfectly exhausted, 

and never left his bed till he. died on the nth of August, 
1842. His disease was said to be liver complaint, but what- 
ever it was it doubtless had its origin in the facts which I 
have related. He had no children but left a bereaved widow 
and numerous friends to mourn his loss. His remains were 
buried in the cemetery on High Street, but have since been 
removed to Forest Lawn. When I last visited his tomb, a 
stone monument marked his resting-place, which was in- 
scribed "Joseph Clary" and nothing more, and this I under- 
stand was his own request, as he had a great aversion to 
all ostentatious display and especially upon a tombstone. 
But he left a name that his friends will never blush to hear, 
for I can truly say with the poet, 

"Green be the turf above thee, 

Friend of my better days ; 
None knew thee but to love thee, 
None named thee but to praise." 

In stature he was about five feet, nine inches, of dark 
complexion, straight black hair and large black eyes, of a 
commanding and dignified aspect, and he strongly resembled 
some portraits which I have seen, taken of Daniel Webster 
before he became corpulent. 


At a meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society, May 9, 
1865, President Fillmore in the chair, the Hon. Lewis F. 
Allen spoke at length on the recent assassination of Abraham 
Lincoln. He referred to Mr. Fillmore as being peculiarly 
sensible of the nation's loss, and offered the following: 

Resolved, That in the great bereavement which our nation has 
suffered in the death of its late Chief Magistrate, we devoutly 
acknowledge, and patiently submit to the judgments of an over- 
ruling Providence; we trust that all political animosities may cease 
until our country shall be restored to peace and quietude; and that 
the only strife of each and every one may be in a loyal restoration 
of the Government upon the basis of equity and justice to every 
citizen, and liberty to all who may dwell within our borders. 

Before putting the resolution to vote Mr. Fillmore said : 

As this resolution offered by Mr. Allen, is entertained by 
the society, and as he has been pleased to refer to me in 
his remarks, I trust that I shall be pardoned for saying a 
few words before the question is taken on its adoption. 
Perhaps no member of this society appreciates more fully 
than I do. the difficult task which President Lincoln had to 
perform, and I am sure none can deplore his death more 
sincerely than 3 do. 

It is well known that I have not approved of all acts 
which have been done in his name during his Administra- 
tion, but 1 am happy to say that his recent course met my 
approbation, and I had looked forward with confident expec- 
tation that he would soon be able to end the war, and by his 
kind, conciliatory manner win back our erring and repentant 
brethren and restore the Union. Flis assassination has sent 



a thrill of honor through every heart, depriving the Chief 
Magistrate of his life at a moment when party hostility was 
subsiding, and his life was doubly dear to his countrymen, 
and it has plunged a nation into mourning. 

The chief assassin has already been summoned to the bar 
of a just God to answer for his crime, and I hope and trust 
that every one who participated in this awful tragedy will 
be legally tried, before the constitutional courts of the coun- 
try, and if found guilty, will meet the punishment which 
the law prescribes for his offence; and that no innocent per- 
son will suffer from prejudice or passion. I need hardly 
add that I cordially concur in this resolution as a just tribute 
of respect to the memory of the deceased. 

But while I express my sense of the great loss which this 
country has sustained in the death of President Lincoln at 
this particular juncture, 1 would not be understood as imply- 
ing a want of confidence in his successor. I can sympathize 
with him in the embarrassments with which he is sur- 
rounded, and the difficulties which he has to encounter in 
being thus suddenly called to the helm of state amid the 
perilous storm of an unparalleled rebellion. It appears to 
me that the storm has nearly spent its fury, and the angry 
waves are gradually subsiding, and gleams of sunshine al- 
ready illumine many a dark spot. This fact greatly adds to 
the labors and responsibilities of the Government. States- 
manship must now take the place of arms. But yet I have 
hope. From all that I know of President Johnson I think 
he has talent and integrity; and if he will hear and then 
follow the dictates of his own good sense and calm judg- 
ment, without prejudice or passion, he will succeed. But 
I must say that I am pained to sec so little consideration 
manifested even by well-intentioned friends, as to rush upon 
him at this time with addresses, requiring a response from 
him, thus engrossing his valuable time and distracting his 
mind, when every consideration of friendship, patriotism and 
propriety should forbid it. 

The first caution he has to observe is to steer clear of 
the factions that are trying to get possession of him for their 


own selfish purposes — to carry out some favorite theory of 
reconstruction, or to gratify some feeling of revenge. 

1 am happy to see that he receives all politely but keeps 
his own counsel, and has the prudence and good sense not 
to commit himself in offhand speeches as to his future 
policy; but leaves himself at liberty, after clue consideration, 
to take advantage of circumstances as they arise. 

In my humble opinion, he who controls the destinies of 
a nation, especially at a time like this, should never indicate 
his future policy until it is fully matured in Cabinet council, 
and he is ready to put it in operation ; nor should he promise 
an office until he is ready to confer it. 

While, therefore, we justly deplore the loss of President 
Lincoln, let us never despair of the Republic; but rally 
around his successor, regardless of past differences or party 
prejudices, and do all we can to sustain him, so long as he 
maintains the Constitution and laws of our common country. 
Let us remember amidst all our grief and disappointments 
that there is an unerring Providence that governs this world, 
and that no man is indispensable to a nation's life; and let 
us look hopefully for the rainbow of peace that will surely 
succeed the storm if we do our own duty. I hope the reso- 
lution will be adopted. 



On September 3, 1866, President Andrew Johnson and 
party visited Buffalo, and ex-President Fillmore was called 
on to express the city's welcome. He said : 

Mr. President : The pleasing duty has been assigned to 
me of welcoming you and your distinguished Ministers and 
the gallant officers of the Army and Navy accompanying 
you to the hospitalities of the city of Buffalo. This duty is 
the more grateful to my feelings and the more honorable to 
you, sir, as I am authorized to speak in the name and on 
behalf not only of the city authorities, but also of all our 
citizens, without distinction of party or sect. All have cor- 
dially united in this testimony of respect to the Chief Magis- 
trate of the nation. They know and appreciate your patri- 
otic devotion to the Union during the darkest days of the 
Rebellion. When Senators and Representatives in Congress 
threatened treason, and your own State swung from her 
moorings under the Constitution and drifted into the turbid 
stream of secession, you stood like a rock in the midst of 
the ocean, against which the waves of rebellion dashed in 
vain. Still standing erect, while the tempest howled and 
the waters surged around you, you firmly resolved that the 
Union should be maintained. 

Since the war, new issues have arisen of which it would 
not be proper for me to speak on this occasion; but I think 
that I may venture to assure you, in the name of all, that 
however we may differ as to the best mode of accomplishing 
it, yet we are, with few exceptions, anxious to see the Union 
restored under the Constitution, and harmony and commer- 
cial intercourse and fraternal love again uniting the North 


and the South ; and the sooner this can be accomplished the 
better for the country. Every intelligent man knows that 
until this is done, our credit can not be established abroad, 
and business, to a certain extent, must be paralyzed at home. 
As matters now stand, all is doubt and uncertainty, and no 
man can safely predict what may happen next month or next 
year. Such a state of uncertainty is a national calamity. 

But I will not detain you longer. This vast multitude 
that stand before you are anxious to hear the voice of the 
man they have met to honor, and not mine ; and therefore, 
with sincere prayers that your journey may be a pleasant 
and safe one, I repeat the cordial welcome to our city, and 
regret that your stay is necessarily so brief. Allow me the 
honor to present you to our citizens. 


Mr. Fillmore was one of the originators in Buffalo of 
the agitation which resulted in the establishment of the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He pre- 
sided at many of the early meetings, but the newspapers of 
the day preserve but meager record of his remarks on these 
occasions. Of a meeting on March 21, 1867, we have this 
note : 

Mr. Fillmore said that the object of the meeting was 
known and understood by all present. No man could walk 
the streets of our city without having his feelings outraged ; 
and there could be no difference of opinion among humane 
men as to what should be done. Mr. Fillmore thought that 
in the generality of instances the cruelty exercised toward 
animals was not so much the outbreak of malice as of anger. 

At a subsequent meeting, March 28th, he spoke at some 
length : 

Mr. Fillmore said he had felt for years that a society of 
the kind contemplated was necessary in this place. We had 
laws against cruelty to animals, but they were not executed. 



and the South ; and the sooner this can be accomplished the 
better for the country. Every intelligent man knows that 
until this is done, our credit can not be established abroad, 
and business, to a certain extent, must be paralyzed at home. 
As matters now stand, all is doubt and uncertainty, and no 
man can safely predict what may happen next month or next 
year. Such a state of uncertainty is a national calamity. 

But I will not detain you longer. This vast multitude 
that stand before you are anxious to hear the voice of the 
man they have met to honor, and not mine; and therefore, 
with sincere prayers that your journey may be a pleasant 
and safe one, I repeat the cordial welcome to our city, and 
regret that your stay is necessarily so brief. Allow me the 
honor to present you to our citizens. 


Mr. Fillmore was one of the originators in Buffalo of 
the agitation which resulted in the establishment of the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He pre- 
sided at many of the early meetings, but the newspapers of 
the day preserve but meager record of his remarks on these 
occasions. Of a meeting on March 21, 1867, we have this 
note : 

Mr. Fillmore said that the object of the meeting was 
known and understood by all present. No man could walk 
the streets of our city without having his feelings outraged ; 
and there could be no difference of opinion among humane 
men as to what should be done. Mr. Fillmore thought that 
in the generality of instances the cruelty exercised toward 
animals was not so much the outbreak of malice as of anger. 

At a subsequent meeting, March 28th, he spoke at some 
length : 

Mr. Fillmore said he had felt for years that a society of 
the kind contemplated was necessary in this place. We had 
laws against cruelty to animals, but they were not executed. 


When in Naples he inquired why it was that men were ar- 
rested and incarcerated without the forms of law, and 
learned from a gentleman speaking' his own language, that 
the laws did not differ materially from those of Great 
Britain, although trial by jury was not tolerated and testi- 
mony was taken in writing but the laws protecting the per- 
son were not enforced. The law was ample but was not exe- 
cuted ; and so with reference to that in relation to cruelty 
to animals. He referred to the workings of the humane 
society in London, and said that reform in London had ac- 
complished a great good. In Italy he found the people 
gentle and kind to the inferior animals, but in Spain the 
most terrible cruelties were practiced and those he regarded 
as the legitimate outgrowth of the bull lights. Speaking of 
the question of vivisection, he said if it was necessary for 
physiological purposes, we must submit — but it was never- 
theless horrible. The process of cutting up a horse alive, 
commencing at his extremities and dissecting him to pieces, 
he could not regard with anything but a feeling of horror ; 
but if he were satisfied of its absolute necessity he, per- 
sonally, might submit to it with a better grace. 1 

i. Mr. Fillmore, with other citizens of Buffalo, signed 2nd sent to the Leg- 
islature the following remonstrance to prevent if possible the passage of a 
bill introduced in the Legislature by Assemblyman Purrs, of New York: 

To the Honorable, the Legislature of the State . of New York: 

We, your memorialists of the city of Buffalo, respectfully state that we 
have seen with equal regret and surprise that a bill (No. 193) has been intro- 
duced in the Assembly by which it is proposed to repeal so much of the Act 
of April 12, 1867, as authorizes any agent of the American Society for the 
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to make arrests and bring the offender before 
a magistrate; and also to exempt from arrest any employee whose employer 
can be found in this State, &c, &c. 

Believing that the power granted by said act of 1867 is sufficiently guarded 
to prevent abuse, and that it is indispensable to the execution of the law in 
our cities, as without it the criminal would escape before a warrant could be 
obtained and thereby elude arrest and punishment; and believing that it is a 
novel idea in the administration oi criminal justice that an employee commit- 
ting a crime should not be answerable for it, if he has an employer residing 
somewhere in this State, whereas the general rule has always been, and should 
be, that all engaged in a criminal act are equally culpable, and certainly this 
should be no exception; we, therefore, respectfully, but most earnestly, remon- 
strate against the passage of said bill, and venture to express the hope that 
the Legislature of this State is not prepared to take any backward step in this 
humane and Christian work; but that it will continue to maintain the honor 
of the State and show to other States of the Union which have followed its 
noble example that it is in earnest in its endeavor to protect the brute creation 
from wanton cruelty and abuse. 

Millard Fillmore 
Buffalo, March 11, 1870. lend others.} 



In September, 1869, Buffalo had a celebration to mark 
tbe anniversary of the birth of Alexander von Humboldt. 
The exercises included a musical programme of great merit, 
and numerous addresses. Buffalo's German citizens were 
prominent, and the speeches included one in German by a 
distinguished guest. The papers state that on the day of 
the celebration — September 14th — an audience of more than 
5,000 gathered for the exercises. Mr. Fillmore presided, 
and spoke as follows: 

I have been requested by the committee of arrangements 
to relate my interview with Baron Humboldt, and with some 
reluctance I have consented to do so; but it must necessarily 
compel me to be a little more egotistical than I could desire, 
and I fear that more will be expected than I can give. 

In 1855, while traveling in Europe, I unexpectedly met 
Baron Gerolt at Bonn, on the Rhine, who had so long and 
so ably represented the Prussian Government at Washing- 
ton, and he inquired of me if I intended to visit Berlin and I 
told him I did, and he kindly tendered me a letter of intro- 
duction to Baron Humboldt, which I gratefully accepted, 
expecting, however, nothing more than the privilege of 
looking at an octogenarian who had ascended the Peak of 


TenerifTe, and from its dizzy height marked the time that it 
took the disc of the sun to rise above the horizon, and who 
had traced the Orinoco river through savage wilds and 
burning heats to its source ; and scaled the Andes and 
ascended the Chimborazo to the height of nearly 20,000 
feet, and whose name had been intimately associated with 
the advancement of science for more than half a century. I 
felt that it would be a satisfaction to look upon such a man 
and mark his lineaments and hear him converse. 

Accordingly when I arrived in Berlin I inquired if Baron 
Humboldt had a residence there and was informed that he 
had, and I sent my courier with my letter of introduction 
and address, inquiring when it would be convenient to re- 
ceive a call from me; but my messenger returned with in- 
formation that the Baron was at Potsdam, eighteen miles 
distant, and I concluded that I should not see him until 1 
visited Potsdam, but to my surprise, just as I had finished 
my breakfast the next morning, Baron Humboldt was an- 
nounced. My letter and address had been sent to him the 
evening before, and he had come down purposely to meet 
me, and he received me with a cordiality that put me entirely 
at my ease. He was then eighty-six years old, tall and 
stoutly built, with a strongly marked German countenance, 
his hair white and thin, slightly stooping in his shoulders, 
with his chin nearly resting upon his bosom as he stood, but 
of a most benign and venerable aspect and commanding 
dignity. Finally, the portrait which hangs there painted by 
Mr. Sellstedt, is a very good likeness. 1 

Although he spoke the English language, yet it was with 
some difficulty that I could understand him, as he spoke with 
an accent, and the loss of his teeth had evidently impaired 
his power of enunciation. After a short conversation, learn- 
ing that I had just arrived in the city, he proposed at once 
to accompany me to see the chief objects of interest, and in 
spite of my protestations that I could not ask such a favor, 

1. This portrait of von Humboldt, painted by Air. L. G. Sellstedt, was pre- 
sented to the Young Men's Association of Buffalo, and now hangs in the 
Buffalo Public Library. 


In 1869 Mr. Fillmore consented to act as president for 
the "Southern Commercial Convention." He presided at 
the annual session of this body, at Louisville, Ky., October 


he spent most of the day in showing me about the city and 
pointing out the chief curiosities. You may well conclude 
that for a man of his age he was very active, and he seemed 
to take as much interest in everything as though he was but 
fifty, and was looking at them for the first time. Some few 
days after I returned his call and found him occupying 
rooms assigned him by the King in one of his palaces at 
Potsdam, and he was engaged in reading the last proofs of 
his "Kosmos." I asked him if it had been translated into 
English as far as completed, and he said it had. I inquired 
if he had seen the translation, and he said he had, and that 
it was very good. Though sitting by a table, I observed that 
when he wrote he wrote upon his knee, and as I remarked 
the singularity, he said that he had been compelled so much 
of his life to use his knee for a writing-table that the habit 
had rendered it natural and easy. Pie spoke with interest 
of his travels through the United States in 1804, and of his 
visit to President Jefferson. 

The room which he occupied was evidently his workshop. 
It was filled with books and maps, and such natural curiosi- 
ties as he had collected during his long life; and many of 
them were very rare and curious. Indeed, it was a perfect 
museum for the man of science, and he kindly drew my at- 
tention to objects of the greatest interest. 

I afterwards met him at a dinner party given by the King 
at the Palace of Sans Souci, where the chief diplomats and 
nobles were assembled, and I was struck with the deference 
that was paid him, not only by the King and Queen, but by 
all present. Pie was indeed an extraordinary man, and I 
never expect to look upon his like again. 


H, 1869; and at a reception held at the Court House made 
the following remarks : 

Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen of Louisville: This re- 
ception is an honor and a pleasure which I had no reason to 
expect. Were I a candidate for some high patriotic office, 
or did I come with prestige of official power, I might ac- 
count for this assembly here today. Nearly twenty years 
have elapsed since I have taken part in political matters. I 
belong to no party, but I do belong to my country ; and I 
cannot express the gratification I feel today at seeing in 
prospect a deliberative body gathered from every State in 
the Union — the Union restored, that patriotic and glorious 
Union which has been endangered, but I trust not lost. 
Fifteen years ago I visited your city for the first and last 
time, and had I been placed in it today unawares I could not 
have recognized it. True, here is the grand old river flowing 
along its edge ; here is the great natural obstruction of the 
falls, which has placed it with the great commercial cities of 
the country ; but now when I see your splendid houses and 
your beautiful streets, all seem changed. It would seem as 
though magic had wrought it. How you could be so pros- 
perous under all the vicissitudes of the past ten years is un- 
accountable ; but I congratulate you on your good fortune 
and your prosperity. 

Kentucky, if there be a State in the Union except the 
State which gave me birth, is the State of all others I have 
learned to honor. 

I knew your illustrious citizen, who did honor to his State 
as he did to all the Union, and who now sleeps within your 
borders. I need not say that I allude to Henry Clay. He 
was my earliest and most devoted friend, and I was his ; and 
I can never revert to his memory without reverence and 

I beg your pardon, gentlemen — I came here with no pre- 
pared address ; the time is long passed since I have at- 
tempted such a thing. I came here simply to thank you for 
this unexpected reception and honor, and to express the hope 


that you may be one and united forever. Pardon me, there- 
fore, for not adding to this address and for contenting my- 
self with simply thanking you for this honor. 1 

i. As president of this body, some time later, Mr. Fillmore issued the 
following call for the convention of 1870: 

"In conformity with the resolve of the Southern Commercial Convention, 
at the meeting held in Louisville, Ky., October 12, 1869, the annual session 
of the convention will be held at Cincinnati, Ohio, commencing Tuesday, Octo- 
ber 4, 1S70. Commercial bodies, municipal and other corporations, and all 
Other interests entitled to representation in the convention, are requested to 
appoint delegates in accordance with the basis of representation adopted at the 
session of the convention held at Memphis, Tenn., May 18, 1869. 

Miixahd .Fillmore, President. 
Chas. M. Thurston, Sec'y. 


In October, 1867, some forty gentlemen of Buffalo, 
headed by Mr. Fillmore, addressed a letter to Major 
General William F. Barry, U. S. A., tendering to him a 
public dinner as an expression of their esteem. General 
Barry accepted the courtesy ; at the dinner on the evening of 
October 25th, 1 Mr. Fillmore presided, and on rising to pro- 
pose the toast of the evening, spoke as follows: 

Gentlemen: We have met to do honor to an esteemed 
friend and fellow-citizen who is about to leave us, and in 
announcing the first regular toast, you might expect from 
me a brief speech, but I have consented to occupy this chair 
with the express understanding that no speech should be 
required of me. Here are younger and more eloquent gen- 
tlemen who might feel disappointed, if not grieved, were 
they not permitted to speak, and I know that you will listen 
to their well arranged and delightfully flowing eloquence 
with more pleasure than to a rambling talk from me, and I 
shall not disappoint you or them by any extended remarks. 

1. General Barry had had his headquarters in Buffalo, as commander of 
the Northern Frontier, since the Fenian disturbances of 1866. The community 
had formed a high regard for him, and there was general regret \vhen he was 
ordered to resume command of his regiment, the Second Artillery, with head- 
quarters at San Francisco. This was the occasion of the dinner, which was 
held at the Tifft House, attended by some eighty citizens. Besides the remarks 
by Mr. Fillmore, there were speeches by General Barry, Hon. Isaac A. Ver- 
planck, Hon. S. S. Cox, and others. The letter addressed to General Barry by 
Mr. Fillmore and his associates will be found on a subsequent page of this 
volume. The letter which General Barry wrote in reply, and other original 
manuscripts and souvenirs of the occasion, are preserved by the Buffalo His- 
torical Society. 



I can not, however, forbear to say that on this occasion 
the city of Buffalo honors herself quite as much as she 
honors our distinguished guest. General Barry is a son of 
the Empire State, of whom she may well be proud. He was 
born in the city of New York, and performed his first mili- 
tary service on the Niagara frontier during what is called 
the Patriot war of 1838. And his early acquaintance here 
enabled him to pluck from our Eden one of its fairest 
flowers, which he now proposes to transplant with all its 
beautiful blossoms to the golden State of California. But 
let him be assured that we shall place no flaming sword at 
the gate to prevent his return, but a warm and most cordial 
welcome will always await him. 

It is often said that a military officer has no home — being 
always subject to the orders of his Government; and this in 
one sense is true, but in another it is not ; for to every heart 
there is one dear spot, hallowed by a thousand tender recol- 
lections, from which he may have wandered thousands of 
miles, but at every step he drags a lengthening chain, with 
an ever yearning desire to return. And may we not fondly 
hope that our honored guest may so regard the city of 
Buffalo, and return to us again. 

But you may naturally expect and desire to hear some- 
thing of General Barry's military service during the war of 
the late Rebellion. At my request a young and gallant officer 
of our city, who served under General Barry most of the 
time, has furnished me with a brief statement of his services, 
which, with your permission I will read. 

At the outbreak of the rebellion General Barry was at 
Pensacola, Florida, whence his battery ("A" of the 2d ar- 
tillery) was ordered to the defence of the Capitol. 

His battery arrived at Washington the day before the 
army marched for Bull Run (No. i). Upon arriving upon 
the field he was appointed by General McDowell as his 
chief-of-artillery. He was shortly afterwards made Briga- 
dier General of Volunteers, and appointed by General Mc- 
Clellan chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac, in 
which capacity, after having shown great energy r and pro- 


fessional skill in organizing' the immense artillery force be- 
longing to that army, lie took the field with it, and served at 
the siege of Yorktown, before Richmond and through the 
seven days battles, returning with it to Alexandria. General 
McClcllan was here relieved of command and General 
Barry ordered to Washington, to fill the office of Inspector 
of Artillery of the army upon the staff of General Halleck. 
He remained in Washington doing Bureau duty from the 
autumn of 1862 until the spring of 1864, when he was re- 
lieved and ordered to report to Major General Sherman, 
who had just assumed command of the Military Division of 
the Mississippi, headquarters at Nashville, Tenn. He was 
at once appointed chief of artillery of the three armies then 
concentrating under one. head at Chattanooga, and showed 
great energy in doing for them what he had previously done 
in the East, thoroughly reorganizing and equipping their 
artillery. He served upon General Sherman's staff in the 
field throughout that arduous campaign of continuous 
marching and fighting that terminated in the fall of Atlanta. 
For these services he was breveted Major General. He 
participated in the subsequent chase after Hood which 
opened to Sherman the road to the sea, but was unable to 
make that march with his army owing to a dangerous illness 
which at this crisis sent him to the rear, and laid him up for 
several months. 

He afterwards started from New York, January 1, 1865, 
and joined General Sherman in Savannah in time to give 
the artillery a thorough inspection and overhauling, and 
place it in readiness for the long and precarious march that 
was before it. He accompanied General Sherman upon the 
campaign through the Carolinas up to the date of Johnson's 
surrender ; and after the disbanding of the army in Wash- 
ington was retained upon his staff and accompanied him to 
St. Louis, Mo., the headquarters of his new command. 
About this time the command of the 2d Regiment of U. S. 
Artillery devolved upon him by the death of Colonel and 
Brevet Brigadier General Morris, and he was ordered to 
join his command in California. The Fenian troubles occur- 


ring about this time, General Grant delayed the execution 
of this order, and took advantage of his local knowledge of 
and residence upon the frontier to assign him temporarily 
to the command in our midst which he is now about to leave 
for his legitimate field of duty. 

General Barry was at the beginning of the rebellion a 
Captain in the 2d Regiment of Artillery. During the war 
he has risen to Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, by 
regular lineal promotion, and held the rank of Brigadier 
General and Major General of Volunteers, and Brevet 
Brigadier General and Brevet Major General in the regular 

Such is the military record of the man whom the people 
of Buffalo delight to honor. In a Southern State, sur- 
rounded by superior influences, when rebellion flung its 
defiant banner to the breeze and threatened a dissolution of 
the Union, yet he did not, like some others, forget the mother 
who had nursed him, and the oath he had taken to sustain 
her in her hour of affliction, and turn traitor to her cause 
and join her enemies ; his patriotism was made of sterner 
stuff, and without hesitation or wavering he flew to the point 
of danger, joined the army of the North and was in that 
first but most disastrous battle of Bull Run. From that day 
till the last battle was fought, and the last armed enemy had 
surrendered, and the war was ended, he was always at his 
post except when dangerous illness prevented, and he shared 
with his brother officers and soldiers all the dangers and 
fatigues of that terrible conflict; never forgetting that he 
was a citizen as well as a soldier, and that his duty was to 
sustain the Constitution and laws and not to break them. 
He thus passed through this dreadful ordeal with his es- 
cutcheon unstained by any act of military tyranny. This 
brilliant array of talent, wealth and respectability, gathered 
around this festive board, with mingled feelings of pride 
and joy at his success and sorrow at parting, gives the most 
ample proof of the estimation in which Ala j or General Barry 
as a citizen and soldier is held by the people of Buffalo. 


The Hon. John B. Skinner, for more than a generation a 
leader of the Bar of Western New York, died in Buffalo 
June 6, 1871. At a meeting of the Bar of Erie County, to 
take appropriate action in his memory, ex-President Fillmore 
was called on to preside. On taking the chair, he said : 

I am not in the habit of apologizing, but it has been so 
long since I have attempted to speak in public that I fancy 
that I feel somewhat like the aged prisoner released from 
the Bastile. He had been confined so long that he had lost 
the use of his limbs, and consequently his steps were hesi- 
tating and unsteady. But feeble and unsatisfactory as my 
effort to speak may be, yet I can not withhold my tribute of 
respect to the man whose death we deplore today. I am not 
prepared to pronounce any eulogy upon the character of 
Judge Skinner. Whoever shall assume that responsible 
duty will require time for reflection and preparation. But 
since I consented today to attend this meeting I have been 
too much occupied by previous engagements to find time 
even to read the brief obituary of the deceased published in 
the papers this morning. I shall therefore content myself 
with speaking of the Judge as I knew him. 

Doubtless there are many in this intelligent audience who 
knew him more intimately if not so long as I have. My ac- 
quaintance commenced with him in 1829, when he and I 
were both members of the Assembly. That was my first 
year, but I think it was his third year, and he had then an 
enviable reputation for so young a man in that distinguished 
body, as yet free from the suspicion of bribery, and adorned 


by the talents of such men as John C. Spencer, Erastu* 
Root, Benjamin F. Butler, Frank Granger, and a host of 

The revision of our Statutes — the great work which did 
so much to methodize our laws and relieve them from the 
cumbrous language and accumulated contradictions and in- 
consistencies of years — was then just completed, and in that 
great work Judge Skinner bore a conspicuous part. I know 
that he was listened to with confidence and respect, and no 
member of the House seemed to exert a more salutary in- 
fluence. But that, I believe, was his last year in the State 
Legislature, and party politics — not want of talent and in- 
tegrity — prevented him from being elected to any popular 
office ; and, indeed, so long as I took part in party politics, 
we belonged to different parties, consequently my subsequent 
acquaintance was mainly at the bar. 

But here he wss distinguished for his legal acquirements 
and forensic eloquence. I. have often felt a tremor of 
anxiety when I had to meet him. He was a man religiously 
devoted to the interest of his client without ever compromis- 
ing his own conscience or dignity. He prepared his case 
with great labor and assiduity, and whatever could be hon- 
orably said in favor of his client's interest, he presented with 
clearness and force, and when that was done he conceived 
he had discharged his professional duty, and he patiently 
awaited the result. 

But professional labors, however great and however suc- 
cessful, give but a limited reputation compared with official 
sendees. The reputation of the lawyer is confined mostly to 
the bench and bar, while that of the statesman or military 
hero fills the nation — and is often reflected from foreign 
countries. But the highest encomium which can ever be 
passed upon a man of his profession may with great pro- 
priety be passed upon him, and that is, lie was a learned, 
conscientious lawyer. 

"A wit's a feather, and a chief's a rod, 
But an honest man is the noblest work of God." 


As a citizen his character stands without blemish. Fore- 
most in all efforts to relieve the wants and improve the 
morals of society, he taught temperance rather by practice 
than by lectures; he adorned the Christian character by an 
humble, pious devotion, and was content to worship his 
Creator in his own way, without bigotry and free from all 
intolerance. Death is the common lot of humanity. It must 
come to us all sooner or later, and it can never touch a near 
and dear friend without our feeling it most sensibly. But 
yet there is some, consolation in the thought that he was 
taken from us after his work was fully done. Had he died 
earlier, we should have felt that he and society had lost 
much. Had he survived the loss of health and faculties, we 
should have felt that his life was but prolonged misery, with 
no adequate compensation to himself or others. Our Crea- 
tor knows best when it is time for us to die. and while we 
cannot avoid the pang which the death of a friend inflicts, 
yet it is our duty humbly to submit to the will of God and 
be resigned — and I feel that we but honor ourselves in hon- 
oring his memory. 


In 1 87 1 Mr. Fillmore wrote the autobiography of his 
early years. This paper, which chronologically should ap- 
pear next in our record — as no paper is known to have been 
written by him, or address to have been made, following 
that above printed and prior to 1872 — has been placed for 
obvious reasons at the opening of this collection. 


On the death of Samuel F. B. Morse, a public meeting 
was held in Buffalo, April 16, 1872, at which estimates of 
his service to mankind, and tributes to his memory, were 
presented. Ex-President Fillmore presided at the meeting, 
and spoke as follows: 

Fellow-Citizens: Samuel F. B. Morse, the father of 
the telegraph, is no more. A great man, the benefactor of 
his race, at a ripe old age, has passed away and a nation 
mourns; and it is befitting that we should join our lamenta- 
tions to theirs. He was our friend, for he was the friend 
of humanity, and we are blessed by his labors. 

My acquaintance with the deceased was but slight, yet it 
was chiefly in connection with the telegraph that laid the 
foundation of his fortune and his fame, and therefore your 
committee seemed to think it might possess some interest 
on this occasion, and at their request I have consented to 
state it. I can only speak of one step in that long and 
weary road which Professor Morse traveled for twelve 
years, from the time he first conceived the idea of his great 
invention to its triumphant completion in 1844. None but 
those who have suffered from the rebuffs of ignorance, the 
night of stupidity and the cold caution of self-interest, can 
appreciate the labors and toils, vexation and disappoint- 
ments which were endured for twelve long years by Pro- 
fessor Morse. 

Some time, I think in 1838, Professor Morse exhibited 
in one of the committee rooms of the Capitol, at Washing- 
ton, what probably would now be deemed a rude model of 
his telegraph, and among others I went by invitation to see 
it; but I gave it very little examination, and what he pro- 


posed to do seemed so miraculous that I had little faith in 
it. Unfortunately, like most inventors, he had not the means 
to bring- his invention to the test and prove to the world 
that it would perform all that he claimed for it, and he 
asked some aid from Congress to enable him to do so. The 
power of the electric current at short distances was known, 
but the fact was not yet ascertained how far this power 
could be transmitted, and it was to settle this point that he 
asked the aid of Congress, but for some reason no aid was 
given ; and the next that I heard was that he was in Europe 
asking for aid to introduce his invention there. But I think 
he did not succeed, for when I was on my way to the 
Twenty-seventh Congress, and I think in the autumn of 
1842, Professor Morse called on me in New York, and 
requested me to go and see his telegraphic machine, which 
I did, and saw it operate. After that he appeared in Wash- 
ington with it and put it up in one of the committee rooms, 
and made another appeal to Congress to grant him $30,000 
to enable him to lay an insulated wire underground from 
Washington to Baltimore, to test the practicability of his 
invention. The idea had not then occurred of stretching the 
wire on poles. I then gave more attention to the subject, 
than I had done before, and I recollect that he had wire 
wound on a reel, which he said was equal to a circuit of 
ten miles, that is, five miles out and five miles back, and he 
showed me how it worked and explained how it would 
exceed all other telegraphs by transmitting in writing the 
message, and by recording it there though no one were there 
to receive it. 

A bill was reported, I think from the Committee on Com- 
merce, granting the amount asked for ; and when it came 
up for consideration in the House, it was attacked by argu- 
ment and ridicule, and finally passed by a very small major- 
ity. Some thought it a foolish expenditure of money upon 
a chimerical project, and others by way of ridicule proposed 
to add a sum to test experiments in mesmerism, etc. 

I, however, advocated the bill, and though I could not 
say that the telegraph would do all that its inventor had 


predicted, nevertheless I thought it was possible, and even 
probable, that it might, and if it would I should regard it a> 
a national blessing, and $30,000 was not much for the nation 
to pay on a contingency of this kind, and the bill passed and 
became a law on the 3d of March, 1843. I claim no raerit 
for the little assistance 1 was able to give in this case, as I 
but performed my duty in the position in which you, my 
constituents, had placed me. 

I trust you will recollect that I have been speaking of 
events that occurred some thirty years ago, and as I have 
been compelled to do it without reference to any report of 
the proceedings, I shall crave your indulgence if I have 
made any mistake. 

Pardon me for adding a few words more. It is always 
interesting to compare one great man with another in the 
same condition of life. I think this one of trie great charms 
of Plutarch's "Lives." But time will not [permit me to] 
furnish any such comparisons as he has made and I shall 
content myself with barely naming two or three individuals 
who have rendered their names immortal by their inventions, 
and what strikes one as singular, is, that they have often 
risen from the lowest ranks of society, and their inventions 
have no connection with their ordinary occupation or pro- 

Arkwright, in England, was an uneducated man, follow- 
ing the humble occupation of a barber till he was thirty 
years of age; and yet his invention of the spinning jenny 
revolutionized the world in the manufacturing of cotton 
goods, and made him a millionaire, and royalty itself recog- 
nized his merit and conferred upon him the order of knight- 

Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, was a poor 
Connecticut boy, seeking employment as a teacher in Geor- 
gia, when he discovered the want of a machine to separate 
the seed from the cotton, and by his invention supplied the 
want, and though Georgia defrauded him of his just reward, 
yet his cotton gin "made cotton king," and has added im- 
mensely to the wealth of the United States and the world. 


Though he lost his just reward there, yet, thank Heaven, his 
inventive powers were not exhausted and his inventions in 
the manufacture of arms made him also a millionaire. 

Robert Fulton, a poor widow's son of Pennsylvania, com- 
menced life as an artist, by painting miniatures, and yet he 
made the first successful application of steam to navigation, 
and his name will be remembered as long as a steamer plows 
the waters. His invention wrought a revolution in the navi- 
gation of the world, and its blessings are felt in the four 
quarters of the globe. 

Like Fulton, Professor Morse was an artist, but he left 
his easel and brush and wrought one of the greatest inven- 
tions of this or any other age. Franklin called the lightning 
from the clouds, but Morse caught it and tamed it, and 
subjected it to his will: and made of it a messenger of intel- 
ligence which annihiliated time and space — it brings all 
nations so near together that they can, as it were, hear each 
other speak. It visits every clime and penetrates every 
obscurity. The great luminary of day can only shine on 
one half of the globe at the same time, but the lightning of 
the telegraph will spread its light by day or by night over 
the entire globe. 

In the midst of our grief for the loss of so great and 
benevolent a man, it is certainly a cause of thankfulness that 
he was permitted to live so long to enjoy the pecuniary- 
rewards and honors justly due to his great labors. The 
gratitude and esteem of his fellow-citizens have done for 
him while living what has generally been regarded as post- 
humous honors. They have erected a statue to his memory 
in the great commercial city of the Union, while the monu- 
ment to Washington in the city which bears his name is 
yet unfinished. But no one could abate one jot or tittle from 
these testimonials of respect. They were justly due and we 
cheerfully add our tribute to the memory of the deceased. 


Mr. Fillmore was a guest of the officials of the Buffalo, 
New York & Philadelphia Railway 1 on the occasion of 
the opening of that line, and joined in a stockholders' excur- 
sion in a tour by the first train over the road on August 18, 
1872. At Olean, where some four hundred guests gatherer] 
at luncheon, the head of the table was occupied by ex- 
Senator C. V. B. Barse and ex-President Fillmore. Mr. 
Fillmore being called on for remarks, spoke at some length 
and, far more than was his wont, in a vein of pleasantry. 
The following condensed abstract is all that has been pre- 
served of his remarks on this occasion : 

He was not, he said, a candidate for any office and he 
could not have anticipated the call for a speech, but he took 
the deepest interest in the prosperity of the country and in 
the success of the various enterprises looking to its welfare. 

1. Completed under this name in August, 1872, opened for business in 
January, 1S73. In 1853 the Buffalo & Allegheny Railroad Co. was chartered 
to build a line from Buffalo to Yorkshire, N. Y., forty miles; and in 1865 the 
Buffalo & Washington Railroad Co. was organized to extend that line from 
Yorkshire to the Pennsylvania line, a distance of thirty-seven miles. These 
two companies were consolidated under the name of the latter in July, 1S65. 
Shortly thereafter the Sinnemahoning & Portage Railroad Co. was chartered 
in Pennsylvania to build sn extension of the line in that State to Emporium, 
about forty-four miles, and in 1866 it was merged into the consolidated Buffalo 
& Washington Railroad Co. In April, 1S71, the name was changed to the 
Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railway Co. In 1887 occurred a fore- 
closure sale of the company's properties, and the B., N. Y. & P. was succeeded 
by the Western &w York & Pennsylvania Railroad Co., owning and operating 
nearly 700 miles of road. This organization, which, especially in the earlier 
years, was regarded as of great importance in the development of Buffalo and 
its traffic, and which at various times drew a good deal of Buffalo investment. 
is now a part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system. 



None of these enterprises affected us more, locally, than 
the construction of this railway. Twenty-five years ago he 
had passed through Olean, and he knew it had the benefits 
of the Genesee Valley canal, which terminated at Rochester. 
Officially and from public documents he knew something 
of the importance of Olean, and he remembered that many 
years ago he used to hear it said that when men escaped 
from their creditors, they escaped to Olean Point. [Being 
interrupted with good-natured jests on this matter, Mr. 
Fillmore added that, lest he be misunderstood, he would 
state that all the creditors who succeeded in escaping to 
Olean Point immediately proceeded to take rafts down the 
Allegheny river.] Continuing, he added that he had not 
expected to find now so beautiful a village or such evidences 
of thrift and enterprise. He was pleased that Buffalo and 
Olean were brought into such close and pleasant relation- 
ship, and the officers of the road were deserving of gratitude 
for the eminently satisfactory manner in which they had 
done their work. He concluded by joining in a toast to the 
officers of the road. 


At the annual meeting of the Ladies Branch, Buffalo 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, March 
3, 1873, Mr. Fillmore presided. Others made reports and 
formal papers ; and Mr. Fillmore, being called on, ad- 
dressed the meeting briefly and informally. 

Fie spoke of the humble beginning of the society and the 
great humane work it had accomplished. He stated that he 
was deeply interested in the objects of the society; spoke 01 
the pain which he felt to witness cruelties which are too 
frequently inflicted upon animals, and particularly upon that 
noblest animal next below man — the horse. He alluded to 
the cruel sports of the Romans and the Spaniards, and gave 
a vivid description of the bull-fight as seen in Spain. These 
cruel and brutalized exhibitions had the effect that might be 


expected upon the character of the people. When traveling 
through Spain he had been deeply pained by witnessing the 
cruelty which was habitually exercised by the people toward 
their horses and lower animals. 


At 2 meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society, June 26, 
1873, ^ r - Fillmore indulged in brief reminiscences: 

He congratulated the society upon its success. It had 
met in a doctor's office, then in a law-office on Court street, 
where they were again invaded by the physicians and obliged 
to retire to the Y. M. A. building. The books and portraits 
on the walls speak the history of the city. Among many 
who have worked for the Society none had done more than 
Mr. Steele, who was very modest in speaking of himself. 
It is of very little consequence what a country is, unless its 
history is preserved, which has been done with this country, 
and especially with this city. The honorable speaker con- 
cluded by appealing to the audience to see that the Society 
was sustained and made prosperous. 



The following interview with Mr. Fillmore appeared in 
the New York Herald, dated ''Buffalo, N. Y., September 16, 
1873." The writer describes how he sat with Mr. Fillmore 
that morning "'in his little comfortable but unpretentious 
office in Court street" ; describes Mr. Fillmore's appearance, 
sketches his career, and then gives what purport to be the 
ex-President's own words on various subjects. The fol- 
lowing extracts preserve Mr. Fillmore's remarks, on topics 
of historical character, as recorded by the anonymous but 
skillful and apparently trustworthy interviewer. 

I was chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means 
when Morse first brought his batteries and ten miles of wire 
in a coil to the committee rooms in Washington. W r e were 
asked for an appropriation of $30,000 in order to extend the 
experiments, a wire to Baltimore being the first under con- 
templation. I went to the committee rooms and saw the 
operations of the instruments and the messages recorded, 
and became convinced that here was an invention that was 
destined to aid in the civilization and progress of the world. 
Many of my colleagues and friends in and out of Congress 
saw it also; a few believed in it; others turned round and 
declared that it was pure nonsense for a man to believe he 
could send a message to New Orleans in the course of a few 
seconds. I advocated the measure for the appropriation 
with all the resources at my command, believing I saw in 
the invention something of that which has since been de- 
veloped, and finally succeeded in having it passed. I be- 


lievcd in an enlightened progress, and supported my convic- 
tions Lv my voice and vote. . . . 

During my travels in Europe I was usually treated with 
courtesy and consideration. But there were occasions when 
I actually felt ashamed for my country, where the unfitness 
of the American diplomatic and consular appointees was so 
glaring as to reflect seriously upon the character of the 
American people, leading to all kinds of embarrassments. 
Such appointees were simply the subjects of contemptible 
sneers by the polished and diplomatic minds with whom 
they were forced into contact. I remember one instance in 

France. Soon after I had landed at B I sent my card 

to the United States consul at that port. In the course of 
the evening he called to pay his respects to me. After some 
conversation with him I became convinced that he was 
utterly out of place in such a position, and I asked him how 
it was that he had been appointed to the post. He informed 
me that during the previous Administration (before I came 
to the White House) he was the editor of a small paper 
somewhere in Illinois ; that he had worked late and early 
and earnestly supported his party, both in and out of his 
paper ; and, believing he had earned a position under the 
Government, he went to Washington and demanded the posi- 
tion of postmaster at the town where he published his paper. 
Some difficulty stood in his way here, however, and he was 
not appointed to the position. Subsequently, however, he 
was sent for, and, after an introduction at the State Depart- 
ment, was put down on the list of consular nominations, con- 
firmed with a number of others by Congress at the end of a 
session, when everything is rushed through without suffi- 
cient investigation or debate, and ordered to B in 

France to act as consul. He had not the slightest notion of 
what were his duties and didn't understand a single sentence 
of French. He had been there long enough, at the time of 
my visit, to pick up a little French and learn his business 
sufficiently from the attaches to prevent absolute blundering, 
and thus he held on. But his unfitness for the post could 
be seen almost the instant he spoke. 


Another instance during' the same visit to the continent, 
will show how little attention had been paid to the honor of 
the country in the appointment of diplomats. I had made 
an ascent of the Rigi and passed over to Switzerland and 
been travelling considerably for several days. On our way 
we were to pass a city where one of the ambassadors of our 
country lived. I will not mention names or places definitely 
because they will have no bearing upon the subject and the 
illustrations to be made. After we arrived I sent my card, 

as usual, and was called upon by Mr. . On stating 

that we were only to stay a short time and. would like to see 
as much of the country and people as pos>ible, our represen- 
tative informed us, with considerable embarrassment, that 
he would be unable to introduce us to the Court or members 
of the Cabinet. We did not care for that, and only desired 
to see the city and the people generally. On asking the 
reason, he said he had some little social disagreements and 
for the time being did not associate socially with the people 
with whom the nature of his calling demanded almost con- 
stant contact. 

I was astonished, and made inquiries as to the cause of 
this remarkable condition of affairs. I learned that this 
gentleman, who held a high position at a foreign Court, in 
the service of the United States, had formerly been con- 
nected with a daily journal somewhere in New England. 
He had entered upon the duties of an important office, 
calling for the exercise of the greatest skill and good judg- 
ment. He was admitted to the ranks of society as any other 
man might be, under the supposition that there were certain 
sacred obligations he would scrupulously respect. The first 
thing he did, however, was to write a series of letters to his 
journal containing severe and unflattering comments upon 
the people at his new home, treating the ladies especially in 
a most unhandsome manner. In his ignorance or forget ful- 
ness, he had imagined that the departure of his letter by the 
mail would be the last of it. But the facilities of exchange 
soon undeceived him. The letters returned, were translated 
and read by the persons who were most concerned. Mr. 


was instantly shut out from all social gatherings ; 

the native officials, even, scarcely liked to have dealing.- with 

[Replying to an inquiry how such unfit appointments 
could be prevented, Mr. Fillmore said:] 

I will tell you how I think the evil can be avoided in the 
future. We have naval academies for our officers of the 
Navy; we have a training establishment for our Army 
officers; doctors and lawyers and engineers receive special 
educations for their respective walks in life, and the benefits 
of such a course of training are too paramount to admit of a 
doubt. Now, our diplomats and foreign representatives 
have as much need of special training as either of the others 
I have, named. They are often found in positions of great 
delicacy, calling for the finest logic and experience ; they 
are supposed to take rank with the greatest trained minds 
in other countries, and yet the appointments are not even 
appropriately made; much less is there experience to direct. 
I would suggest that a system of training be inaugurated 
similar to that at the British Foreign Office, for instance, 
where young men have to study diplomacy as a science, and 
are only advanced, with a few exceptions, after they have 
had experience in the different grades leading to the position 
to which they are finally appointed. There might be a pre- 
liminary educational department leading to the State De- 
partment, whence the young men might be drafted as 
attaches, etc., until fitness and capacity alone should recom- 
mend them to tlie higher positions in the service of the State. 

[He was asked as to the fitness of certain recent appoint- 
ments "from among the ranks of the Credit Mobilier heroes, 
especially the Japan Commission":] 

I know nothing of several of the gentlemen, recently ap- 
pointed, but after the late emphatic expression of public 
opinion the best that can be said is that they are unfortunate 
appointments. The same applies to Spain as to Japan. 


[He was asked if persistent office-seekers thronged the 
White House when he was President:] 

No. If a man came to me and stated his services to the 
party as a claim on which he based his demand for office I 
frequently considered that a good reason for refusal. I 
never promised a man an office ; I never allowed him to 
know whether I would appoint him or not. If a relative 
came to me and pleaded relationship as his claim, as well as 
special fitness, I invariably told him that the people would 
never believe it was his capacity that had planted him in a 
Government office, but the relationship, insinuating that 
favoritism instead of ability had been his special aid, to the 
exclusion of some better man. Such suspicions should be 

When I formed my Cabinet there were one or two gentle- 
men I might have retained as advisers ; but I had my own 
view's of certain leading matters, and had I consented to 
allow them to remain many of my supporters would prob- 
ably have believed I was permitting the opposing interests to 
prevail in the State councils. I therefore accepted their 
resignations and appointed in their places well-known and, 
I think, trusted men, in whom the country had confidence. 
I placed Mr. Webster at the head of the State Department, 
because he was a man of considerable experience in the mat- 
ters of State, and because he was known and respected by 
the people both for his diplomacy and the public services he 
had rendered. He was not a great linguist, like Everett, 
who succeeded him, it is true, but he possessed those sterl- 
ing qualities of the head and the heart that gave us all entire 
confidence in him. Everett was the more polished man of 
the two, perhaps ; he had had experience on a foreign mis- 
sion abroad, and had been in contact with the best men of 
the time, and, in addition, was an accomplished scholar, 
reading and speaking most of the modern and several 
ancient languages. I have reasons for believing that my 
other Cabinet appointments gave satisfaction. 


Before Mr. Webster died 1 called to see him, and, in I 
course of a long conversation on otu social and 
relations, Webster said : 

"There is but one thing that I really regret having done 
during the course of m) political life." 

J asked him whal that was and he replied: 

"1 regret that 1 ever voted for a soldier President. There 
is no use in saying that my friends advised me to do it; I 
did not believe in it. and. therefore, there is nothing- I can 
say in that direction to apologize for it." 

He referred to General Taylor. 

[His views on President Grant's Cabinet were re- 
quested :] 

General Grant is doubtless a greater general than state- 
man ; and, perhaps, there should be some allowance made 
for his want of experience. He appointed a Cabinet with 
one exception, from men who were extremely obscure, un- 
known to the people and not having any special fitness. I 
think tins was unwise. Emergencies unlooked for may 
arise, calling for the exercise of special ability on the parts 
of the heads of departments, and lacking that ability changes 
must occur. Everything appears to go on quietly, however, 
and the affairs of the nation seem prosperous in the country ; 
still the people do not like to have obscure politicians thrust 
forward into positions oi great trust. I know very little 
of General Belknap 1 ; J should say that Mr. Fish 2 had much 
more experience than either of the other members of the 

[''Do you think sufficient regard has been had for the 

feelings of the people in many of the latest appointment-?"] 

It is possible to be mistaken in men of the best repute 
and those having abundance of recommendation. The appli- 

i. Brig.-Gen. William Worth Belknap, .. Secretary of War by 

President Grant, October i;>. 

2. Hamilton Fish, S ci tary of State in Grant's Cabinet, March n, 1864. 

to March 12, 1877. 


cants for office were generally entered on a list, during my 
Administration, by the chiefs o\ the departments to whom 
they applied. When vacancies were to be idled and a man 
was selected for appointment inquiries were made as to his 
character and ability, and not as to his political achieve- 
ments. If I found the man selected was capable of dis- 
charging the duties of the office I sent his name forward to 
Congress for confirmation. But, then, any mistakes or 
abuse of confidence can readily be remedied by the recalling 
power vested in the President. 

On one occasion there was to be an important foreign 
appointment made. I had promised to give it to Pennsyl- 
vania, provided a suitable candidate should be endorsed. A 
large delegation of politicians waited upon me from that 
State and nominated a man, who. to all appearance, was 
entirely satisfactory. His recommendations were considered 
ample, and after the usual inquiry (which was as scrutiniz- 
ing as possible) the gentleman was ordered to Washington. 
He was nominated and confirmed by Congress, and I ap- 
pointed him. He drew his outfit money, and having pro- 
vided himself with the necessaries for an ocean voyage, 
started for New York. While in New York, however, he 
behaved in the most outrageous manner. He drank and 
gambled away his advances, and altogether cut a most un- 
gentlemanly, undiplomatic figure. I heard of it and in- 
stantly recalled him, thus. I believe, saving the exposure of 
unfitness that must have followed, and immediately ap- 
pointed another man in his place. Thus, you see, the remedy 
quickly followed the evil. 

["By your remark with reference to the 'exception' in the 
present Cabinet, do I understand you to mean that you 
endorse our foreign policy?"] 

To a great extent, yes. We do not want to be mixed up 
with the internal affairs of other nations. During Wash- 
ington's time, I admit it was a great difficulty to avoid being 
drawn into the vortex of the European war. The French 


had doubtless been of great service to us, and their a; 
for aid almost goaded the people to frenzy, but it was en- 
tirely due to the calm judgment and splendid executive- 
ability of George Washington that we did not rush in against 
the English nation, who were "cordially hated" on this sirle 
of the ocean after our struggles with them. 

It is difficult sometimes to avoid the shoals that foreign 
representatives may plant in the way. At the time Kossuth 
was here with his retinue he called upon Mr. Webster at the 
State Department, and requested an interview or an intro- 
duction. Mr. W r ebster came to me and said: 

"Kossuth has called at the Department and desires an 

I knew Kossuth was not a statesman : he depended 
entirely upon his oratory. "If he desires simply an intro- 
duction," I said to Webster, "I will see him, but if he wants 
to make a speech to me, I must most respectfully decline to 
see him." 

"He has promised me not to make a speech," replied 

"Very well, then," I said, "I will see him." 

The next day Kossuth appeared with a brilliant retinue, 
and, on being introduced, instantly commenced a lengthy 
speech. W r hen he had finished I briefly stated that I had 
misunderstood the object of his interview at first; but I 
most decidedly could not and would not interfere in the 
affairs of a foreign nation. 1 

From this point of view, I think our dealings with Spain 
in reference to Cuba have been the safest that could be 
adopted. It may take a few years, but in the end, with the 
encouragement derived from (lie free institutions of the 
United States, Cuba will either be free from Spanish rule 
or be annexed to America. 

[Mr. Fillmore's views were sought on the desirable 
length of the Presidential term, and related topics :] 

i. See Presidert Fillmore's remarks to Kossuth, December 31, 1S51. 
Fillmore papers, vol. I, p. 426. 


It was degrading [he said) that high officials should use 
their official positions as a kind of commercial business, out 
of which to extract large incomes. He charged most of the 
corruption that now exists to the elective system. If a man 
attended a convention and was nominated for an elector, 
he was pledged beforehand to give his vote for a certain 
man only, and he could not do otherwise. 

Now, I remember [said Mr. Fillmore] when it was pro-. 
posed to abolish the present electoral system altogether and 
leave the election of President to the senior members of 
the United States Senate. Of course, no one would have 
known beforehand who was to be elected, and his political 
color would not be known until afterwards, thus saving the 
country endless excitement and preventing that interruption 
to business and commercial interests that sometimes occurs. 
Although the citizens repelled the idea, because every man 
believed to have in himself the right by birth of an expres- 
sion of opinion on this subject, there was considerably more 
wisdom in the proposition than was generally seen. 

I would, however, prefer that the spirit of the Constitu- 
tion be adhered to. Washington and Lincoln lived in excep- 
tional times, and I would rather see a precedent of only one 
term established. That term I would make six years instead 
of four, as now, which would enable the successful candi- 
date to entirely master the duties of the office, and would 
extend by one-half the periods between which these inter- 
ruptions occur to the country. 

But I would go further in the way of revising the Con- 
stitution. With the view of preventing- this trafflcing while 
in office, in order to provide for the days that are to fol- 
low an exit from the White House, I would pension the 
outgoing President by permitting him to draw an annual 
amount equal to the half of his salary while in office, this to 
continue as long as he lives. 

It is a national disgrace that our Presidents, after having 
occupied the highest position in the country, should be cast 
adrift, and, perhaps, be compelled to keep a corner grocery 


for subsistence. We make a bargain with our Supreme 
Court Judges, and agree that after the expiration of tw< 
years' service in the Appellate Court, if they shall be seventy 
years of age, we will give them a pension. The Lord High 
Chancellor of England, when he goes out of office, receive.? 
a handsome pension to compensate him for the loss of his 
profession, which he cannot follow afterwards. But \vc 
elect a man to the Presidency, expect him to be honest, to 
give up a lucrative profession, perhaps, and after we have 
done with him we let him go into seclusion and perhaps 
poverty. See the case of the late Mrs. Lincoln. 

I liked my profession and should have been glad to con- 
tinue it after my retirement from the Presidency, but I 
couldn't do so because my colleagues at the bar would say, 
and quite naturally, "Here, you have been to the pinnacle 
and ought to be content." In that way I entirely agree with 
the increase of $25,000 a year, to General Grant's income, 
because his $50,000, considering the constantly increasing 
expenses of entertainment, are not worth more now than 
the $25,000 a year paid to Washington and others. 

[Mr. Fillmore was asked to suggest a desirable candidate 
for Chief Justice of the United States:] 

Conkling has been prominently spoken of, but it has come 
to be considered a political appointment, and he who has 
the most friends may get it. It is easy to see, however, that 
this is a position but few are competent to fill. He who has 
it should be a lawyer, who should have no business outside 
of that pertaining to his office ; he should abandon all his 
private practice, so as to be perfectly free and untrammelled, 
and all political considerations must be excluded, before a 
consistent, upright and impartial performance of the duties 
can be expected. His reputation must be pure or he cannot 
command the respect of the Bar, and of the Associate 

So far as I have any choice I would nominate Judge 


Curtiss * of Massachusetts. His legal and forensic abilities 

are equal to those of any lawyer in the land ; be is brilliant 
in argument and a jurist whom every one respects. The 
trouble with him is, I trunk, that he has so large and remu- 
nerative a practice, and would decline to lose it for the sake 
of the honor of the Chief Justiceship. I appointed him 
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, but he resigned for 
that reason. 

i. Benjamin Robbins Curtiss; in 1851 be was a member of the Lower 
House of the Massachusetts Legislature when President Fillmore appointed him 

one of the associate justices of the United St; : .tcs Supreme Court. He con- 
tinued on the Supreme Court bench till 1S57. In the famous Died Scott case 
Justice Curtiss dissented from his associates, and in a powerful argument upheld 
the right of Congress to prohibit slavery, and disagreed with the majority of 

the judges in their dictum that "a person of African descent cannot be a 
citizen of the United States." His dissenting opinion found strong approval 
in the Northern States. 


Buffalo, October J, 1873, ^ ie opening address was made by 
Mr. Fillmore. It was his last appearance in any public 
capacity. His address l follows : 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: We have met 
to dedicate this temple to the Goddess of Industry and espe- 
cially to the patron of the mechanic arts, and I congratulate 
you most sincerely upon the fine display of your exhibition. 
I have wandered through the mazes of beautiful articles 
which are displayed to the admiring gaze of the multitudes 
congregated here tonight, and I am happy to see that your 
exhibition is truly international. Here I see commingling in 
friendly competition the subjects of the Canadian Dominion 
with the citizens of the United States. And why should 
not this be so? A noble river and magnificent lakes separate 
our territories, and different governments rule over our 
respective countries ; nevertheless we are substantially one 
people; speaking the same language, having the same law;., 
and professing the same religion: and if we are not in fact, 
we should be commercially, one. 

But I make no predictions on this subject, and indeed I 
have no solicitude, but I must say if new territory is to be 
annexed, I greatly prefer the Anglo-Saxon races who have 


I. Here printed from the original manuscript in the possession of th; 
Buffalo Historical Society. 


some rational ideas of government according to law, to the 
Latin races, none of which has ever yet been able to main- 
tain a free, republican government. Time ripens fruit that 
is spoiled by being plucked too early. 

It is now more than fifty years since I first became an 
inhabitant of Buffalo, and although I have been occasionally 
absent from the. city, yet I have always been here often 
enough to note its growth and watch its prosperity and ad- 
versity with intense interest. I remember well that about 
1825, when the Erie Canal was completed, the commercial 
advantages which Buffalo possessed gave a great impulse 
to our growth and prosperity, and it seemed for many years 
as though Buffalo was to be chiefly a commercial city. Buf- 
falo had little available water power and Rochester had it in 
abundance, and she turned it to a very good account. She 
had men of wealth and enterprise and for some years she 
competed strongly with Buffalo for the greatest number of 
inhabitants. But finally commerce triumphed over manu- 
factures, and Buffalo took the lead and became the third 
city in the Empire State and from present appearances she 
is likely to maintain her proud position against all competi- 

The truth is, the introduction of cheap and abundant coal 
into our city has given us a motive power little if any in- 
ferior to the best water power, and our enterprising me- 
chanics show by their acts that they appreciate its value. 

The busy hum of industry is heard on all sides, and the 
worshippers in this temple have laid upon its altars their 
choicest offerings for the admiration of the world. Well 
may the artisan who excels look upon the work of his hands 
with pride and invite friendly competition. I honor any man 
who excels in the profession or calling which he follows. 
All labor is honorable. 

"Honor and shame from no condition rise, 
Act well your part, there all the honor lies." 

Productive labor is the source of all wealth. All the 
money made and lost in the Exchange in Wall Street, does 


not add one iota to the wealth of the nation. Some indi- 
viduals, it is true, become suddenly rich, but what is add I 

to their wealth is taken from the wealth of some other man, 
and is not un frequently the hard earnings of patient toil and 
pinching economy. But occasionally we see the wealth of 
the favored few vanish before our eyes like the baseless 
fabric of a dream. Do not envy such millionaires, but pity 
the poor dupes who have been crushed by their fall. 

To lessen, if not to prevent these evils, it is time that this 
nation rose as one man and demanded a speedy return to 
specie payments. 

I see no reason why Buffalo should not become a great 
manufacturing city. We are so situated that manufactures 
may be distributed by lake navigation, by canal and by rail- 
road, cheaply and expeditiously in all directions. These 
advantages seem to point out Buffalo as the grand depot for 
manufactured articles of the West. 

When I look around upon this vast intelligent audience 
and recollect what has brought them together, I feci that this 
is one of the proudest days that Buffalo has ever seen. It 
gives promise of a bright future. May we not be deceived. 

In concluding these brief remarks, and before yielding 
the floor to the orator of the evening, I trust you will pardon 
me for some allusion to a somewhat delicate subject in 
which you, especially, and the community, generally, are 
deeply interested. I allude to what are called "trades 
unions" and "strikes." There is nothing more natural — and 
where the object to be obtained is both lawful and proper, 
nothing more reasonable and just — than for men to unite 
together for the purpose of promoting their several inter- 
ests. We see this exemplified in political parties ; in asso- 
ciations for the advancement of moral and religious objects ; 
and more recently by the farmers in their Granges to pro- 
tect their interests against what, they deem oppressive and 
unjust railroad monopolies. 

Mechanical labor has for a long time in England, and 
more recently in this country, formed combinations to pro- 
tect itself against capital, thereby to a certain extent array- 


ing capital and labor in hostility to each other ; whereas they 
are mutually dependent upon each other, and should be 
friends. Capital can not be used profitably without labor, 
nor labor without capital. By capital I do not mean money 
merely, but real and personal property generally. The farm 
without labor to till it, lies a barren waste ; the machinery 
without skilled labor to manage it produces nothing; and 
even money itself, unless it can be employed is a drug, and 
too often a curse to the holder. 

A combination among mechanics to protect and advance 
their own interests is quite natural, and when kept within 
proper bounds is neither unlawful nor morally wrong; but 
when it assumes the power of dictation and coercion instead 
of persuasion it clearly exceeds its prerogative and is guilty 
of a wrong that organized society can never tolerate. It is 
of the very essence of liberty, that every man should be 
protected in his person and property, and be permitted to 
pursue any lawful calling without interference or molesta- 
tion from any other person. No man should put himself in 
a situation to be dictated to by others. If he does, he is no 
longer independent and free — and especially where he sees 
fit to maintain his independence by refusing to join any 
association, he should resist with the utmost of his power 
any attempt by force to compel him to do that which his 
judgment and conscience disapprove. Subscription to such 
tyranny is the basest of slavery, which no freeman with a 
spark of independence will submit to. 

As to strikes, if they are ever to be tolerated, it must be 
when oppression has become unendurable, and all peaceable 
arrangements by negotiation or arbitration have failed — 
and even then they should never extend beyond a refusal on 
the part of those striking to work for the wages offered. 

The whole social world is so connected together that any 
sudden interruption of the ordinary affairs of life by a strike 
causes great suffering even to the innocent, for 

"... Whatever link you strike, 
Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike." 



It deranges business and destroys confidence, and spreads 
its baleful influence far and wide in every direction. 

But finally, whether a man should ever join a trades union 
is a point on which I shall hazard no advice; different men 
will entertain different views on that subject; but for myself 
I must say, I never was and 1 never could be, persuaded to 
join any association that should have the power to dictate to 
me when I should work and when I should stop; what 
wages I should receive and what wages I should refuse; 
and the thought of such a humiliating position would be too 
painful to be endured. Whatever else I may have in this 
world, independence and freedom are the gifts of my 
Creator which I never intend to surrender to any man or 
association of men. 





€i&+*C> ^ZJZ&v 





In earlier years he wrote with a flourish; then he dropped the flourish 
and spelled his given name "Millerd" (see p. 151). While in Congress he 
usually signed himself "M. Fillmore," running the "M" and "F" together. 
In later years his characteristic signature is larger, with the first name written 
in full. 

148 -*' 




The following pages contain such personal and miscel- 
laneous letters written by Mr. Fillmore as the editor has 
been able to find. Mr. Fillmore's official correspondence, 
as Comptroller of New York State, as Vice-President and 
President of the United States, is printed in preceding pages 
of this collection. 

When the following letters have been copied for this 
publication from the original manuscript, Mr. Fillmore's 
own peculiarities of spelling, capitalization, etc., have been 
followed, and the ownership of the original stated. When 
the letters have been found only in printed form, it has, of 
course, been impossible, to know the peculiarities of the 
original, but the source from which they are drawn is indi- 

An occasional reference is made in the notes to the pre- 
ceding volume of this series (Vol. X. of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society Publications), which is indicated as "I. 



Wales, Erie Co., Oct. 12, 1821. 
[To William Slade, Sempronius, A r . Y.] 

Dear Sir: Feeling full confidence in you as a friend I 
here enclose to you an epistle which I wish you to keep in 
safe custody until you have an opportunity to deliver it to 
the person to whom it is directed if that person be in your 
town if not deliver it to some trusty person enclosed in a 
wraper [sic] who will convey it safe to the destined place. 

I think I shall tarry here this winter — they have offered 
me $13. per month to teach school in the dist. where my 
father resides, they will pay me all their public money — 
they drew last year $27.40. [They] have since had about 20 
scholars added to their Dist. the remainder they will pa}' in 
wheat rye & corn — wheat at $.75 corn and rye $.50 per 
bushel, so that I may reasonably expect $7. in cash and $6. in 
grain at the above prices. I am to begin the 1st of Oct. and 
teach 4 months. 

Please to write to me and tell all the news. I should 
write more but it is late and tomorrow I have agreed to 
assist a friend in two law suits which commence at 7 o'clock 
A. M. and the bearer Mr. Dibble starts next day for Semp s 
[Sempronius] . 

I remain you[r] sincere friend, 

M. Fillmore. 

W. Slade, Esq r . 

Please to direct your letters to Aurora, Erie county, &c. 

William Slade, Esq r 


To the politeness of Mr. Dibble 

Original MS. owned by Miss G. Adelaide Slade, Hamilton, N. Y. 

This letter was written to Miss Slade's father, William Slade, Esq., of 
Kelloggsville, Cayuga Co., N. Y., when young Fillmore was teaching school at 
Aurora and studying law at the same time. Miss Slade writes: "Mr. Fill- 
more's first wife, Abigail Powers, was cousin to my grandmother Slade. and 
as there was no postofnee in Kelloggsville, Mr. Fillmore sent his letters to my 
father to hand to Miss Powers." 



Received of Alvin Dodge & William Hodge, Trustees of 
District number two in Buffalo, nineteen dollars & seventy- 
three cents, in full for my services, for teaching school in 
said district. 

M. Fillmore. 

Buffalo, April 2, 1823. 

Printed in Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Mch. 9, 1874. 


Buffalo, July 28, 1830. 
To Brigadier General Heman B. Potter, 

Sir: The undersigned would respectfully represent that 
he now holds the cilice of Brigade Major and Inspector of 
the 47th Brigade of Infantry of the militia of the State of 
New York, and that having done duty ever since he was of 
the age of eighteen years, and held an office at some consid- 
erable expense for the last seven years, which interfered con- 
siderably with his private business, he is induced to resign 
said office, and does hereby resign the same: And your 
petitioner respectfully solicits ; that you will be pleased to 
accept this his resignation, and grant him a discharge. 

Brig. Maj. & Insp't of the 47th Brigade of Inft of N. Y. M. 

Original MS. owned by Buffalo Historical Society. 

As the facsimile signature shows, Mr. Fillmore at this period wrote his first 
name "Millerd." This letter had not come to the editor's notice when the note 
on p. 43, I. Fillmore, was written. 



Washington, Dec. 9, 1833. 

To His Honor John McLean, 

Sir: Although I have not the honor of a personal ac- 
quaintance, yet I take the liberty of saying who I am, and 
suggesting a hint on the subject of the next presidential 

And as to myself, I am a representative from the 33 d 
Congressional district of the state of New York composed 
of the county of Erie, and reside in the city of Buffalo, and 
am of course an antimason. 

I am satisfied that a great majority of my constituents 
and indeed of the electors of the western part of the state 
are opposed to Mr. Van Buren for the presidency, and would 
prefer you to any other candidate, which, I need not add. 
are my own sentiments. But nothing has been yet done to 
place you distinctly before the public as a candidate, and 1 
conceive it a matter of some delicacy but of great import- 
ance that the first movement in this matter, should be dis- 
creet and well timed. 

The decision of this question involves the consideration 
of time, place and the persons by whom it should be made. 

I st . As to the time. I would respectfully suggest that it 
should be done immediately unless there be some insupper- 
able or at least weighty objection. Van B. being in the field 
and there being no concentrated point to the opposition, and 
Congress and the legislatures of the several states being in 
Session, when questions of a political nature are daily agi- 
tated, it gives to him and his partizans a decided advantage, 
which would be counteracted by having his opponent known 
around whom we could rally. 

2 d . As to the plaee. This must necessarily be governed 
in a great measure by the persons who are selected to make 
the nomination. If by a national convention, Baltimore or 
Philadelphia would be regarded as central. If by a caucus 
of members of the state legislatures, then the places of their 


meeting, and if by the people in their primary assemblies, 
then where they reside. Either or all of these modes may 
be resorted to. But, 

3 d . As to the persons. It has been suggested to me to- 
day by some of the Pennsylvania Delegation, that the Jack- 
son Anti Van Buren part of the legislature of that state 
might be induced immediately to come out and make the 

It strikes me this would be good policy. It would pre- 
sent you as the democratic candidate of the Jackson party 
of that state, around whom all those of that party opposed 
to Van B. might rally without being charged with having 
joined the nationals or opposition ; and the nationals and 
antimasons would fall in of course. This course would in- 
sure to you the stale of Penn a . and I ant satisfied that the 
moment that state is safe against Van B. and the electors of 
New York are satisfied of the fact, that we can also carry 
New York against him. 

What I wish to suggest is that if you are willing to be a 
candidate you should signify that to us here, and if you 
approve of the suggestion that you and your immediate 
friends there should exert your influence in Penn a . to pro- 
duce the desired result. 

I have written this line in much haste and without much 
reflection or any consultation. I shall therefore wait with 
some anxiety your more matured views on this important 

Your directions as to the use to be made of any com- 
munication from you shall be strictly obeyed. 

I am with considerations of high respect and esteem 
Your most Obt. Servt. 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. in Library of Congress. 

The foregoing letter bear? the following endorsement by William McLean: 
"Capt. Taylor and I have opened this letter and read it. It is a good one. 
and we want all the news on this subject. I wish to God the Legislature of 
Pennsylvania could be induced to act promptly in this matter. Nothing new 
here. Things look fair. Keep a good heart and stiff upper lip. Will write 
you after the Van B. meeting here Friday night next. They work in the 
dark cant find out what they are doing. Bill." 



Dear Weed: Just came in and received your kind note to 

dine. Sorry ] can't come, but ] have some writing that mu \ 
be done before the mail closes. Drink lightly — Remember 
"shallow drafts/' &c, but don't think to get sober by drink- 
ing deeply. In haste 

Tuesday 3 P. M. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed IJollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, March 5, 1834. 
[ To 1 1 E m a n B . I V'TT e r ] 

Dear Sir: Yours of the 17th came to hand on the 28th 
and I have found Mr. Allen's papers and presented them 
again and had them again referred to the committee of 
claims. It appears from the Journal of the house that that 
committee reported against the claim in 1S30. I can not 
find that any written report was made or ascertain the 
ground on which it was reported against. I apprehend 
however that they deemed the proof insufficient for so stale 
a demand. 

The claim is for forage furnished our army while at Fort 
George during the last war. He states that he resided in 
Canada, and occupied a farm about 1 mile from the fort. 
That a person acting in the quarter master's department 
agreed to give him $500. for certain grass and wheat grow- 
ing for forage and came and cut and carried it away. This 
person's name he thinks was Hoyt or Hyde, he don't seem 
to know. 

Abram Forbes J swears to the contract with this unknown 
or unnamed personage. But gives no circumstances shew- 

1. This name is printed in the Congressional Globe as "Abraham Fobes." 
See I. Fillmore, pp. 86-88. 


ing when the contract was made or Jwzv he came to hear it. 
Ezra St. John swears that he was waggon Master and they 
foraged about that vicinity where this farm occupied by 
Allen was said to lie. And this is all the proof. You must 
see that it is rather slight. 

I applied to the Secy of the Colonization Society for the 
numbers which you desired of the African Repository] 
and he said he would get them and send them to my room. 
This was last Saturday. They have not arrived and I 
dropped him a note to day. Judge Stryker arrived here day 
before yesterday. I will send them by him. 
I am Respectfully Yours 

(In haste) 

M. Fillmore. 
Gen'l H. B. Potter. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily B. Alward, Buffalo, N. Y. 


Washington, Dec. 10, 1834. 

Dear Weed: Immediately on my arrival here I told the 
clerk to order me your semiweekly paper on Gov't ac/ He 
tells me has done it, but yet I have not ree'd it. Will you 
look to it? 

An anti Van Buren man here is extremely anxious to 
know if there is any evidence that can be furnished satis- 
factorily to establish the two following points. 

i Pt That Van B. attended a caucus for the purpose of 
opposing the election of Madison and procuring that of 
Dewitt Clinton, 

2 nd That he actually voted for the Clinton electors in 
our senate and against the Madison elector?. 

"Old Specks' 1 says the Senate journals of 18.12 shew the 
latter fact. 

Will you either collect and publish the records and evi- 
dence of these facts or forward them to me ? 

1. The editor has been unable to fix the identity of "Old Specks." 


I am informed that White of Tennessee is not a mason, 
and never has been. This i learned to-day from a man who 
told me he asked him. Tell this to our friends there. Let 
me hear from you by letter. 

I am, &c. 

M. Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Dec. 28, 1834. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 15th came to hand some days 
since and of the 226. this morning. I have been confined in 
my room for some days with a severe, cold. I was out yes- 
terday and to day feel quite well. I have little more intelli- 
gence on the subject of President making — I find that Clay 
and his friends cling to the last hope. His ambition is as 
insatiable as that of Julius Cesar. It has so swallowed up 
judgement and reason, and I think I may say patriotism, 
that he sees no obstacles in the present state of parties to his 
triumphant election to the presidency. I think he has but 
few friends now that encourage him. Among these are 
Vance of Ohio, Allen & Letcher of Kentucky and some of 
the forlorn hope from Louisiana. But I only know the 
opinion of these persons from hear say. I have not con- 
versed with any of them. And finally I may say that I have 
not conversed with any member from any quarter of the 
Union who would say that he thought either Clay or Web- 
ster stood any chance of success. But here is "Old Specks" 
doing infinite mischief on this subject. With a zeal worthy 
of a better cause, an industry that never tires, and a devotion 
to Clay that dispair itself could never shake or dampen, he 
is doing everything to keep him on the course. It is not for 
you or me to calculate the extent of this pernicious influence. 
We regard him as a hackneyed politician, possessed of tal- 
ent and political information, but so strongly suspected of a 
want of integrity that he might be regarded as a dead 


weight upon any party. But whatever may he said of him 
in our State where he is better known, this is not the posi- 
tion he occupies here. He knows every body, sees every 
body, corresponds with every body, and gives a tone to 
public sentiment throughout the Union that it is difficult to 
appreciate and still more difficult to counteract. He is labor- 
ing day and night to prevent Clay from declining. His 
course in this matter is so reckless and so unwise as an op- 
ponent to Van B. that I am almost inclined to think he must 
be secretly in his employ. But here we are — no help for us. 
I think after all Clay will not decline. 

The last reason urged against his declension, is that it 
will not do, until the elections have been held in Kentucky 
and some of the other Southern States for members of Con- 
gress, lest it might distract the friends of the opposition. 
By that time Van B. will be in possession of the whole Jack- 
son party and his declension will be of no consequence. He 
will find himself declining fast enough without any act of 

I should not be surprised to hear that Webster was nom- 
inated by the Legislature of Mass. Some of his friends here 
are in favor of it — some opposed to it. I regard it in any 
point of view as the most extreme folly. Websters friends 
think Clay should have the course, and Clays think Webster 
should, and all honest and intelligent men agree with both. 
I think it doubtful whether White could get the north if he 
runs. If he is distinctly the Southern candidate against 
Van B. as the Northern ought we to, or can we support him? 
I am not aware that anything like organized measures have 
been adopted to induce Clay or Webster to decline. Noth- 
ing could be effectually done, but by their most intimate 
friends, and you must be aware how difficult it is to prevail 
on them to do it, and how painful to them the performance 
of the act. All men hate to be the bearers of unwelcome 
news, or the instruments of unwelcome advice. 

We have nothing new except what appears by the papers. 
Rumor says, however, that a day or two since when the 
Rev. O. B. Brown of Post office notoriety was under ex- 


animation, a probing question was put to him which brought 
this Reverend Divine to a full stop, and caused the perspira- 
tion to flow copiously at every pore. That some of the com- 
mittee regardless of the sanctity of this devout man pressed 
the inquiry, and he was compelled to respond. When lo ! it 
appeared that this faithful officer, and sanctified priest had 
been sharing - in the spoils by having an interest in some ui 
those extraordinary and corrupting Extra allozvances which 
have bankrupted that department. But the facts in relation 
to this are not disclosed. The committee are busily engaged 
and have leave to sit during the session of the. House. 

I would cheerfully write occasionally for publication if 
I could. But I have neither time nor tact. 

Let me hear from you as often as convenient and believe 
me Truly your friend 

M. Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


House of Rep. Jany 5, 1835. 

Hon M[ahlon] Dickerson, 

Secy, of the Navy, 
Dr. Sir: Will you be so kind as to furnish me with a 
copy of all the rules and regulations now in force for the 
government of the Navy, and regulating the pay and allozv- 
ances to the officers of the Navy? 

I have the honor to be 

Your most obt. servt. 

M. Fillmore. 

Original MS. in files of Navy Dept. 

Endorsed: "Answer according to facts," [and 2d] "Ansd. 6th Jany 1835." 

TO buffalo attorneys. 

Washington, Jany 20, 1835. 

Gentlemen: Your letter of the 12th inst. enclosing one 
to the Hon. John Mason came to hand this morning, and on 


inquiry at the State department I found you were correct in 
supposing that he resided at Georgetown. I therefore as 
directed enclosed the letter to him at that place. 

I regret to hear that the Daniel Webster is burned. And 
that there is reason to suspect that it is the act of an incen- 

Gen'l P. B. Porter called on me this morning. He ar- 
rived here last evening and says he shall tarry but a day or 
two. I remain 

Yours truly, 

M. Fillmore. 

Messrs. Potter & Babcock. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily B. Alward, Buffalo, N. Y. 

The lake steamboat Daniel Webster was burned, at Buffalo, Jan. n, 1835. 


House of Representatives, January 21, 1835. 
Mr. [Hezekiah A.] Salisbury: 

By an Act of Congress, passed on the 16th day of July, 
1798, a tax of twenty cents per month is imposed upon all 
Seamen, which is paid by the Master to the Collectors of 
the several ports, and they are required to make a quarterly 
return of the amount received by them to the Secretary of 
the Treasury. This Act further provides that the moneys 
thus collected shall be expended under the direction of the 
President of the United States, in providing "for the tem- 
porary relief and maintenance of sick or disabled Seamen in 
the hospitals or other proper institutions now established in 
ports of the United States, or in ports where no such institu- 
tions exist, then in such other manner as he shall direct." 

This act also provides that the surplus moneys after de- 
fraying the expenses of such temporary relief, shall be 
vested in the stocks of the United States, and when in the 
opinion of the President a sufficient fund is accumulated, he 


is authorized to purchase or receive by donation, in the name 
of the United State;-, or to erect suitable buildings "as hos- 
pitals for the accommodation of sick and disabled Seamen." 

By another Act passed on the 2d of March, 1779, 1 the 
President is authorized to expend such money in any state 
where it is collected, or any adjoining state, except such as 
may be collected in the New England States. It also re- 
quires the same tax to be levied upon the "officers, seamen 
and marines of the U. S. Navy," and authorizes the same to 
be deducted from their pay, and gives to them "the same- 
benefits & advantages" which are granted to sick and dis- 
abled seamen by the Act of 1798. 

By another Act passed on the 3d of May, 1832, the 
moneys thus collected are constituted a general fund to be 
used by the President "for the benefit and convenience of 
sick and disabled American Seamen.'' This Act also im- 
poses a similar tax upon persons navigating the Mississippi, 
and extends to them the benefits arising from said fund. 

The increasing commerce of Buffalo, and my duty to the 
hardy mariners of our lakes, as well [as] my other constitu- 
ents, induced me to enter into an investigation to see what 
amount of money had been collected at that port, and what 
had been expended, and to endeavor to make provisions for 
the erection of a MARINE HOSPITAL at that place, for 
the accommodation of sick and disabled seamen. 

I was surprised to find on inquiry that the whole amount 
collected was only $824.76, and that the amount expended 
had been $471.00, and still more surprised to find that noth- 
ing had been collected at that port from the year 1807 *° tnc 
year 1830, as will appear from the following statement of 
the amount of hospital money collected at New-York, Sas< 
Harbor, and Buffalo, from 1802 to 1833. 

1. So printed, but an error for Mch. 2, 1799. 

[The statement shows amounts of hospital money received and expended at 
New York, Sag Harbor and Buffalo, by years, from 1S02 to 1833 inclusive. 
New York received $358,357.12, and expended $379,826.04. Sag Harbor re- 
ceived $5,304.72, and expended $333.02. Buffalo received $824.76, and ex- 
pended $471.] 


I immediately addressed a letter to the Secretary of the 
reasury enquiring into this extraordinary deficiency , and 


House of Representatives, February it, 1835. 

Mr. [Hezekiah A.] Salisbury, 

Dear Sir : I am at a loss to know the meaning or origin 
of an advertisement in your paper in the following words : 

Albany Pension Agency. — We are requested to state, for the in- 
formation of those United States pensioners under the Act of June 7, 
1832, who reside in this State north and west of the counties of 
Ulster, Dutchess and Sullivan, that their pensions will in future be 
paid at the Mechanics' and Farmers' Bank in this city. 

asked him the cause of it. 

I received from him the enclosed reply, which you will 
please publish for the information of those who have an 
interest in this matter. 
I am respectfully. 

Your most obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Printed in Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Jan. 30, 1835. Mr. Salisbury 
was its editor. 

Jan. 16, 1S35, Mr. Fillmore wrote to Hon. Levi Woodbury, Secretary of 
tbe Treasury: 

"I perceive by a report made by your Department to the Senate on the 
6th December, 1834, in obedience to a resolution of the Senate of the 26th 
June last, on the subject of the Hospital money, that no credit is given fcr 
any moneys collected at Buffalo, from the year 1807 to the year 1830. I also 
perceive by a report just made to the House of Representatives, that this fact 
is confirmed. Can you inform me what is the cause of this remarkable hiatus?" 

The Secretary's reply included letters from the Comptroller, Joseph Ander- 
son, and others, to the effect that the tax on seamen for the support of hos- 
pitals was not intended to apply to the districts of the Lakes, and that, with a 
few exceptions, the tax had not been collected. The exceptions, down to 1S30, 
were: Buffalo, 1S05, 'o5 and '07, $20.66; Presqu' Islr, 1805, '06, $9.79; De- 
troit, 1802 to 1807, $37.53. In 1830 the Secretary of the Treasury directed the 
Collector of the Port of Buffalo Creek to collect the tax of twenty cents per 
month of actual employment from each lake seaman, making rendezvous in 
Buffalo. Up to February, 1835, there had been so collected $1170.12, allowed 
by the Treasury Department $903.34, and expended for sick and disabled sailors 
$1450.31. There was a strong effort made at the time to procure a marine hos- 
pital at Buffalo. 


Editors of all the papers published in the counties north and west 
of those above named, are requested to give the above information 

one or two conspicuous insertions in their columns, and to send th( ir 
biils to the Pension Agency for adjustment. 
Albany, Jan. 28. 

Understanding from some source which I do not now 
recollect that it was intended to discontinue the Pension 
Agency at Buffalo, and require the Pensioners in the West- 
ern part of the State to receive their money at Albany, and 
considering this great injustice to these "war-worn veterans 
of a by-gone age." I introduced a resolution into the House 
directing the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions to en- 
quire into the expediency of establishing an Agency at 
Buffalo, and addressed a letter to the Secretary of War to 
know whether the Agency had been or was intended to be 
discontinued at that place ; and in reply received from him 
and J. L. Edwards, Esq., the Commissioner of Pensions, the 
letters of which the enclosed are copies, and which I wish 
you to publish for the information of all interested in this 

You will perceive that these letters state that the Agency 
for paying pensions at Buffalo had not been discontinued, 
and that the Pensioners can continue to draw their stipends 
at the United States Branch Bank at that place. 

I need not, and will not comment upon the great injustice 
that would be done these old soldiers by compelling them at 
great expense and delay to send off 300 or 400 miles to ob- 
tain this small pittance of their country's gratitude, merely 
that some pet Bank may be favored with a temporary use of 
the money. I am gratified to say it has not been done, and 
am, as I said, surprised to see such an advertisement in your 
paper, and at a loss to account for its origin. 

I am your most obed't serv't 
., Millard Fillmore. 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Feb. 18, 1835. 

The letters enclosed with the above were from Lewis Cass, Secretary of 
War, and J. L. Edwards, Commissioner of Pensions. Their purport is suf- 
ficiently stated by Mr. Fillmore. 



Buffalo, Augt. 7, 1837. 

In Chancery: 

Hiram Pratt & others, Assignees, 

Benjamin Rathbun & others, 
his creditors. 

Dr. Sir : This cause will be ready for a hearing on the 
Bill taken as confessed by all the defendants at the next 
term. I think you wrote us that you should appear for the 
Ontario Bank but never gave us any formal notice. I send 
you notice of hearing and copy for admission. Please admit 
service and return it. 

The assignees wish you to attend to getting the order of 
reference and I wish you would make a draft of it and let 
us see it as soon as convenient. 

Questions. 1. Can it be referred to one master here and 
another in N. York, and if so would it be best? 

2. Can we examine the defts. themselves on oath, to 
shew usury? without an offer to pay or allow what is found 
due? Will the late statute have any effect on this question? 

3. Can they be examined on oath to prove any equitable 
defence to their claims, or set off? 

4. Will the Chancellor order the master to proceed at 
once, or will all have to wait for the public notice in the 
papers ? 

5. Can the master be authorized to take proof for or 
against a claim within the state by depositions taken before 
another master or examiner on interrogatories? 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

[Free] M. Fillmore, M. C. 
John C. Spencer, Esq., 


N. Y. 

Dreer collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 



Washington, Sept. 9, 1837. 

Dear Weed: I had anticipated the pleasure of seeing you 

on my way hither, hut was compelled to attend a court in 
Ohio, that detained me so late that I was under necessity 
of coming the shortest way (through Pittsburgh) to this 
place. I arrived here late on Sunday evening before the 
session. All that has taken place since worth communicat- 
ing, you know. But I now take my pen, in haste, to barely 
make a suggestion, that may go for what it is worth. We, 
Whigs, are placed in a peculiar and somewhat delicate posi- 
tion, and all will agree that it is important, that we act in 
concert with the Whig press, as far as practicable; else we 
paralyze the efforts of each other. Van B[uren] has taken 
ground against all banks, national and state, and is no doubt 
expecting that we will take the other side of this issue, and 
if we do not directly ask for a U. S. Bank, at least become 
the advocates of the State Banks. Now I am not prepared, 
nor do I think it good policy to do the one or the other. I 
can go thus far and no farther. I am in favor of a well 
regulated credit system, but I am distinctly and unqualifiedly 
opposed to the debased, corrupted and corrupting safety 
fund system of our State. It may not be necessary to extir- 
pate it, but it must be reformed. It must be purged and 
thoroughly purged before any honest man ought to con- 
taminate himself by ever coming in contact with it, except 
for the purpose of condemning it. 

I therefore do hope that our friends (if they concur with 
me) will not touch the "unclean thing." The system had its 
origin in political fraud, it was conceived, brought forth, 
nurtured, and reared to its present gigantic strength to be 
prostituted to partisan and political purposes. It has been 
thus used by the present dominant party, until every honest 
man looks upon it with loathing and disgust. It is about to 
share the common fate of its unholy alliance. It is to be 
cast aside and trodden under foot by those unprincipled 


wretches that have debauched and debased it. But shall we 
now embrace it? Heaven forbidl Let the "conserva- 
tives" who have unnecessarily acted as the pimps and pan- 
ders of this foul amalgamation take this common bawd to 
themselves. They have shared in the unholy profits of this 
incestuous union. They have the wages of sin in their 
pockets in the shape of bank stock. I regret, sincerely re- 
gret, that any of our friends, or any honest man, is con- 
nected with these institutions in our state. A day of awful 
retribution is at hand, and to shield them from it, would be 
interposing to avert the just vengeance of Heaven. As we 
have invariably condemned their conduct, let us leave them 
to their fate. 

But I took up my pen more particularly to say that I 
feared the bad effect of an article in your paper a day or two 
since, recommending that the Whigs ask a restoration of the 
deposits to the U. S. Bank. I doubt [MS. cut] of the cur- 
rency could do nothing that would be [MS. cut] from it, 
and it would be charged as a failure. 

2nd, because the bare suggestion of such a thing by the 
Whigs, calls up to the minds of the faithful the ghost of the 
monster. 3rd, Because we should take the responsibility of 
recommending it without being able to carry it, thereby in- 
curring all the odium of the recommendation without any 
redeeming quality from its good effects. My advice is, do 
nothing, but canvass the subjects they propose. Matters are 
fast hastening to a crisis. We shall soon see whether the 
people will take Bank rags while all the specie is hoarded 
by the office holders. We shall see whether the people are 
desirous of creating a new host of executive officers, to tax 
them and then collect the money in gold and silver and keep 
it until they want it to pay themselves, while the poor, hard 
laboring people are suffering for the want of it. It cant be 
so. If V. Buren carries out his scheme half of the property 
in the country will be in the hands of capitalists, money 
lenders & usurers in less than 5 years. The debtor part of 
[the] community will have nothing left. But I have written 


more than I intended, and in too much haste for method. I 
need hardly [say] it is confidential. Let me hear from you. 

[Millard Fillmore.] 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. V. 


Washington, Jan. 13, 1S38. 
Saturday even ing. 

Gents: As our citizens justly feel a deep interest in the 
protection of our harbor, from injuries by the inundations 
of the Lake, I enclose you a letter from the Secretary of 
War, and another from the head of the Engineer Depart- 
ment, showing that the survey of. Lieut. Brown is received 
and approved by that department, and, if not too late, I 
think we shall obtain the requisite appropriation. I received 
the enclosed this evening-, and intend to see the Committee 
of Ways and Means, to whom the subject is referred, on 
Monday morning. 

Respectfully Yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

The foregoing was sent to the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, in which it 
was printed, Jan. 23, 183S. 

The enclosures are a letter from Charles Gratiot, Chief Engineer, U. S. A., 
acknowledging receipt of communications from the Buffalo Common Council; 
and from J. R. Poinsett, Secretary of War, favoring an appropriation for the 
object in question. 


Washington, J any 31, 1838. 

Dear Weed: You will see by the proceedings of the 
House to day, that Claibornfe] and Gholson are declared not 
entitled to seats in the House, thereby reversing or expung- 
ing the outrageous decision of the special session. The ad- 
ministration having failed in retaining these men for 2 years 
who were only elected by the people for 3 months, are now 


prepared in the madness of desperation to do a damning 
deed of infamy, that I trust will adhere to them with the 
fatal effects of the shirt of Nessus. They mean to deprive 
Prentiss and Word of their seats, also, and leave the State 
without representation. 

That you may know what is said, I enclose you a letter 
from A. Tyler, full of good sense and sound views. Who 
is he? I do not recollect him. I send copy of my answer. 
Please return his letter. 

Yours In haste, 

M. Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Feby 15, 1838. 

Dear Sir: Yours of the 9th inst. asking that I would 
procure for you a little of the celebrated corn which is fur- 
nished by Mr. Ellsworth came to hand last evening. He 
sent me a few kernels once, but on reading the description 
accompanying it, I was satisfied it was aclimated to a more 
southern climate than ours, and therefore thought it hardly 
worth while to try it. I will however try to get some and 
send you by the first conveyance, and hope it may prove an 
experiment that will not fail. 

I am your friend 

Millard Fillmore. 
Doct C. Chapin, Buffalo, N. Y. 

Original MS. owned by the Buffalo Historical Society. 

declining an invitation. 

Mr. & Mrs. Fillmore regret that indisposition will deprive 
them of the pleasure of accepting Air. & Mrs. Polk's polite 
invitation to visit them this evening. 

Thursday, March 12, 183S. 

Polk collection, Library of Congress. 



Washington, March 20. 1838. 
Dear Weed: Your paper of the 16th has this moment 
conic to hand. I see that in publishing my remark- on the 
affair of the Caroline you omitted two paragraphs contain- 
ing the whole description of the outrage. Was this by de- 
sign? If so, there is undoubtedly a good reason with which 
on suggestion I shall be fully satisfied. But it certa ink- 
gives me a very awkward appearance. 

[Millard Fjllmoiu.] 


Washington, May 22, 1838. 
Dear Sir: Although I do not see much advantage to re- 
sult from your canal meeting, yet I do not see that it will be 
likely to do much harm. I suppose friend Allen wishes to 
shew that he goes for Buffalo, notwithstanding the canal 
around the Falls. Is not this all? 

Nothing new. Y ours &c. In haste 

M. Fillmore. 
G[eorge] R. Babcock, Esq. 


Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily B. Alward, Buffalo, N. Y. 

The allusion is to Lewis F. Allen, an ardent advocate of Buffalo's interests. 


House oe Rep. May 30, 1838. 

Dear Weed: We got the joint resolution from the Sen- 
ate this morning, repealing the specie circular, and in a little 

P. S. I have more confidence that we shall defeat the 
Sub Treasury. I shall know more anon and will v.- rite you 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 
See I. Fillmore, pp. 135-137. 


more than one hour after it was announced, passed it 
through all the forms of legislation by a vote of 154 to 29. 
This is glory enough for one clay. 

1 enclose you an article for publication. It has been 
drawn in haste. You can make any alteration you please. 
I am only anxious for the sake of doing justice between 
Mr. Webster and Mr. Clay on the subject, that the truth 
should go forth as to the exact authorship of each in the 

1 see an effort making to give Clay the entire credit. 
This is unjust. If the one who first originated the measure 
in the precise language in which it has finally passed be 
entitled to the credit of it, then Mr. W. should have that 

We are discussing the Cherokee treaty. 


P. S. As I write in haste 1 have made a boy copy it. 

Original MS. copy owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

An examination of the files of the Albany Evening Journal has failed to 
discover any article which could be pronounced as Fillmore's. If his contribu- 
tion was u;ed, there was no signature to identify it as his work. 


House of Rep. June 4, 1838. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 1st inst. came to hand last 
evening. We have just ree'd the news of the Ohio conven- 
tion at Columbus. A letter states that there were at least 
4,000 delegates, they approved of the national convention, 
appointed senatorial delegates to attend it, and unanimously 
recommended Harrison for a nomination for President. 

I do not mean to complain of anything which you have 
said or done on the Gubernatorial nomination. But 1 have 
seen with regret, an anxiety and zeal manifested on this 
subject by some of our friends, that I feared might lead us 
into difficulty. I can say with great sincerity that I can give 
a most hearty and cheerful support to Seward. Granger or 


Bradish, for that office. If I have any personal predilec- 
tion it is for Seward, but if possible in this all important 

struggle, I would sink every personal friendship and feel- 
ing, and where all are so competent, look alone to the in- 
creased chances oi success. We are to have a terrible strug- 
gle. We have nothing, to spare. Our sole object should be 
to select that candidate least assailable by our opponents and 
most likely to combine the feelings and support of cur 
friends. I think our conservative friends would prefer 
Bradish. The reason is obvious. They have not heretofore 
had occasion to oppose him. The Clay men prefer Seward, 
as they regard his toast in N. York as an enlistment under 
the Clay banner. The Harrison men would probably prefer 
Granger for a like reason, that he has been a candidate with 
Harrison already and is therefore rather identified with 
Harrison. But from what you say I am inclined to think 
Seward now stands the best chance of a nomination. Let 
me then give you as a mutual friend a word of caution ; for 
I hold no correspondence with either of the candidates. 
You are aware that the Land question which has given us 
so much trouble in the Western part of the State is a smoth- 
ered volcano. The materials for explosion and destruction 
to us, in that our strong hold, are all there, and only want 
igniting to throw everything into a state of confusion. 
Knowing these facts I was surprised to see Seward, appar- 
ently making a political tour in company with Lay and Cary, 
two of the principal proprietors of that company. I know 
the mutual friendship that exists between them. I doubt not 
the perfect honesty of intention by all, but you will see that 
where it is so easy to excite a jealousy against our candi- 
dates to the cuQpicious mind such circumstances would be 

"Proof as strong as holy writ." 

that in electing the agent of this company governor, those 
interested had some sinister, ulterior design, prejudicial to 
the interest of the settlers upon this land. I need not say 
that when such a jealousy is once excited, with the slightest 
circumstances to countenance it, our strong vote in the 


Western district will be in great jeopardy. I say this to you 

confidentially, but with the utmost frankness, and good feel- 
ing to all concerned. 

I regret extremely the feeling that exists between Tracy 
and Seward. You know where my sympathies lie on this 
subject. It has been with some difficulty that I have brought 
myself to speak thus freely on this subject of this letter 
where all are friends, and where even a word of caution, 
that I deemed so necessary, may be misconstrued. But you 
at least will appreciate my motive. 

I write in haste, listening to a speech of Riddle, but I 
trust you will be able to understand me. 

Yours truly, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned l>y Mrs. Emily Weed HolHster, Rochester, N. Y. 


House of Rep. June n, 1838. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 8th came to hand last evening. 
I am glad to hear that you are making arrangements for 
publishing so large an edition of Bond's speech. He is pre- 
paring some additional tables, showing the profligate expen- 
diture of public money for Russian and other similar mis- 
sions, and giving the names of all members of Congress that 
have been appointed to office. As soon as these are ready I 
will send you a copy that you may add them. 

We know nothing more definite as to the passage of the 
Sub-Treasury. Things look bad on our frontier. 

This is resolution day. It exhibits cjueer variety. 

Yours truly, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 



Buffalo, Augt. 31, 183S. 

Dear Weed : Yours from Utica was received. You sec 
who our delegates are from this county. Our convention 
elected them unanimously. 

I enclose a letter from Hall to your State executive com- 
mittee. Do publish their names and address in your paper 

Nothing new. All looks well here. 

[Millard Fillmore] 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. V. 


Buffalo, Oct. 2, 1838. 

Dear Weed: I accompanied Mr. Seward to Chautauque 
and returned on Sunday evening, when I received yours of 
the 27th. Mr. Seward returned last evening and has just 
left for home in the stage. We saw all our active intelligent 
friends in Fredonia, Westfield, Mayville & Jamestown, and 
from the best estimate they could make of our strength we 
will have 2003 majority. They arrived at this result from a 
detailed estimate by towns. I am happy to see that Mr. 
S[e\vard] is decidedly popular in that county on the land 
question. That subject is not yet agitated here. 

Every thing in Erie appears remarkably well. Our con- 


wards of the city to night. We have made a detailed esti- 
mate of our vote in this county by towns, and confidently 
hope to give 2880, majority and possibly 3000. We shall 
have many Dutch votes. 

[Millard Fillmore.] 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


"heart-sick of our whig party." 

Buffalo, Oct. 15, 1838. 

Dear Weed: You will sec by the Commercial what facts 
we have as to the result of the election in Western Penna 

and Ohio. Rumor says we have lost Ohio, and I think it 
apparent we shall not gain Penna. This has thrown a wet 
blanket over our cause here, and unless something can be 
done to arouse them, this county will not give 2000 majority. 
I see but one thing- now that gives the least hope of suc- 
cess. Those interested in the Banks may set' their danger 
and again burst the shackles of party, and come to our relief. 
If not all is gone. I regret that the Harrison Hag was not 
nailed to our mast. It would have saved Ohio and gained 
Penna. and this Slate would have followed. But I now 
regard all as lost, irrevocably gone. It is even too late to 
retrace our steps. "The Philistines are upon us," and we 
shall never be able to burst the "green withes" of this 
golden chain of a Sub Treasury. Thank God ! I can en- 
dure it as long as they, but I am heart sick of our Whig 
party. It can never be in the ascendancy. But I will say 
no more. Old Erie shall be the last spot that shall yield. 
We will stand alone amid the general desolation. 

Yours truly, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. F.miiy Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Mr. Fillmore's support of the right of petition merely by 
his vote, did not satisfy the abolitionists of his district, and 
left them in doubt as to the precise character of his views. 
When, therefore, in 1838, he was a candidate for reelection, 
they addressed him a letter of inquiry, to which he made the 
following reply: 


Buffalo, October 17, 1838. 

Sir: Your communication of the 15th inst., as chairman 
of a committee appointed by "The Anti -Slavery Society of 
the County of Erie," has just come to hand. You solicit 
my answer to the following interrogatories: 

"ist Do you believe that petitions to Congress on the 
subject of slavery and the slave trade, ought to be received, 
read, and respectfully considered by the representatives of 
the people?" 

"2d. Are you opposed to the annexation of Texas to this 
Union under any circumstances, so long as slaves are held 

"3d. Arc you in favor of Congress exercising all the 
constitutional power it possesses, to abolish the internal 
slave trade between the States?" 

"4th. Are you in favor of immediate legislation for the 
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?" 

I am much engaged, and have no time to enter into an 
argument or to explain at length my reasons for my opinion. 
I shall, therefore, content myself for the present, by answer- 
ing all your interrogatories in the affirmative, and leave for 
some future occasion a more extended discussion of the 

I would, however, take this occasion to say, that in thus 
frankly giving my opinion. I would not desire to have it 
understood in the nature of a pledge. At the same time that 
I seek no disguises, but freely give my sentiments on any 
subject of interest to those for whose suffrages I am a can- 
didate, I am opposed to giving any pledges that shall de- 
prive me hereafter of all discretionary power. My own 
character must be the guaranty for the general correctness 
of my legislative deportment. On every important subject 
I am bound to deliberate before I act, and especially as a 
legislator, to possess myself of all the information, and 
listen to every argument that can be adduced by my associ- 
ates, before I give a final vote. If I stand pledged to a par- 
ticular course of action, I cease to be a responsible agent, 


but I become a mere machine. Should subsequent events 
show beyond all doubt that the course I had pledged to pur- 
sue was ruinous to my constituents and disgraceful to my- 
self, I have no alternative, no opportunity for repentance, 
and there is no power to absolve me from my obligation. 
Hence the impropriety, not to say absurdity, in my view, 
of giving a pledge. 

I am aware that you have not asked my pledge, and I 
believe I know your sound judgment and good sense too 
well to think you desire any such thing. It was, however, 
to prevent any misrepresentation on the part of others, that 
I have felt it my duty to say thus much on this subject. 

I am, respectfully, your most ob't servant, 

Millard Fillmore. 
W. Mills. 'Esq., 

Chairman Erie County Anti-Slavery Society. 

In 1S30. when the admission of California was under discussion in the. 
House, the foregoing- letter of Mr. Fillmore was quoted by Andrew Johnson of 
Tennessee to prove that Mr. Fillmore, like Gen. Taylor, was on record as ap- 
proving the institution of slavery. In this same speech (Tune 5th) Mr. Johnson 
said: "My position is, that Congress has no power to interfere with the subject 
of slavery; that it is an institution local in its character, and peculiar to the 
States where it exists, and no other power has the right to control it." 


Buffalo, Oct. 28, 1838. 

Dear Weed : Our prospects look well now in this county. 
I think the country towns never manifested more zeal and 
never have given a larger majority than will this time. Love 
and Tracy are both sick, confined to their rooms and have 
been since our county nominations, unable to do any thing, 
even to advise. This has thrown an immense labor and re- 
sponsibility upon me. But I shall be able to go through 
with it. I go into the country towns tomorrow morning to 
spend the entire week. I go south and have made arrange- 
ments to have others go north. 

Our city is more uncertain. I fear it will not come up 
to our estimate. Our candidate for the assembly from the 


city is not entirely satisfactory; and it has dampened the 
zeal of some of our most active and efficient young men. I 
have however got them all to take hold of the general ticket, 
and they now work well. 

Yours truly in haste 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Holli?ter, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Dec. 6, 1838. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 2d is received and I regret 
more than you can that I did not see you at N. York. Where 
is Granger? He promised to write me in full if he did not 
see me. 

I have not changed my mind any as to the propriety of 
my taking the office of comptroller, and i was sincerely in 
hopes that public opinion would take another direction more 
congenial to my feelings and more beneficial to the State 
and party. But as you and others seem to think that it is 
desirable and may become necessary that I make this sacri- 
fice, I have just written to my partners to consult them on 
the subject. When I hear from them I intend to make up 
my mind definitely & unalterably. I do not wish to stand in 
a position that looks as though I had a false delicacy or coy- 
ness on the subject, for I have none. I speak, now, frankly 
what I think, and will soon say positively, what I will do. 

I have received a letter from Tracy. He declines being 
a candidate for the office, as we both apprehended he would. 
He, however, manifests a desire that I should take it, and 
says if I will, he will do what he can to aid my success, 
and to insure it would withdraw any application on his part 
for the Senatorship. All this is very kind. But I cannot 
bring my mind to the idea of abandoning my profession, and 
subjecting myself to the caprice of popular favor or official 
patronage for a support. In other words I cannot well 
afford to make the pecuniary sacrifice which is required. I 


made up my mind when I entered political life, never to go 
so far as to feel for a moment that J depended upon any 
office or any popular favor for a livelihood. ' That moment, 
I should lose my independence — I fear my integrity — He is 
miserable whose happiness 

" — Hangs on Princes' favors" 

But he is not only wretched, but infinitely degraded whose 
means of support depends upon the wild caprice of the ever- 
changing multitude. I can not become a slave to such a 
master. But enough — I will give the subject a candid con- 
sideration, and whether I shall accept or decline, I can not 
but feel flattered that I am thought worthy, and shall ever 
entertain a most grateful recollection of those who have thus 
manifested their confidence and proffered their kind offices. 
There is no man with whom I should be more willing to be 
associated, politically & socially, than Mr. Seward. I have 
entire confidence in his competence and integrity, and if the 
other State officers are such men as I doubt not they will be, 
it would be an honor to which my humble ambition has 
never aspired to mingle in the counsels of such an associa- 

We have nothing new here except what you see by the 
papers. I yesterday performed the melancholy duty of 
announcing the death of our late friend Mr. Patterson. We 
have done no business, but have adjourned over till Monday, 
to give the speaker time to appoint our committees. 

It seems they are having a disgraceful Hare up in organ- 
izing the Penna legislature. 

I forgot to mention that Mr. Tracy utterly denies having 
written any such letter to Gov. Marcy. If it be true, it 
ought to be known. But I doubt not you have been imposed 
upon, and if so, I know you will cheerfully write me in 
opinion that justice ought to be done him by at once contra- 
dicting the report. In great haste, yours truly, 


Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

This letter and the following show that Mr. Fillmore was regarded as a 
desirable candidate for New York State Comptroller, ten years before he came 
into that ofhee. 



Washington, Dec. 8, [838. 

My dear Sir: Yours of the 4th is just received. If any- 
thing could induce me to make the sacrifice which I feel 1 
should, by taking- the office of Comptroller, it would be the 
hope and prospect of being useful to the long oppressed, but 
free and noble West, and particularly to my own darling 
city of Buffalo. My highest ambition would be gratified if 
I could connect my name with her rising greatness. It 
would be a monument as imperishable as adamant, and as 
immovable as the bed of Lake Erie. Could persuasion 
move me, so cordial a letter from so valued a friend could 
not fail to produce the desired effect, but I fear your par- 
tiality has induced you to place too high a value upon my 
services in that station, and that the interest of those I hold 
most dear, would be as well, if not better consulted by my 
declining the office. The subject however having been 
pressed beyond what I anticipated, I have written my part- 
ners to see whether any arrangement can be made in our 
professional business that will admit of my abandoning it. 
When I hear from them I intend to give a definite and un- 
alterable answer. 

Accept my most cordial expressions of gratitude for the 
friendly interest you have taken in this matter, and believe 
me truly, Your sincere friend, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Capt. T[iiaddeus] Joy. 

Ordinal MS. owned by Mr. Waller J. Shepard, Buffalo, N. Y. 

Washington, Dec. 23, 183S. 

Dear Weed: It seems to be necessary that I decide with- 
out further delay whether I am willing to stand as a candi- 
date for the office of Comptroller. I can not but feel flat- 
tered that so many of my friends have thought me worthy 


of the station, and 1 certainly feel extremely grateful to all 
of their; who have honored me with a spontaneous oiler to 
aid in elevating me to that high and responsihle office. But 
I have corresponded with my partners in business, and given 
to the subject the most anxious and deliberate consideration, 
of which I am capable., and have come to the conclusion that 
I must decline the honor. It is hardly necessary to mention 
reasons as you know them all, and can explain them to any 
who desire to hear them. But I may be pardoned for saying 
to you, that, I am very diffident of my ability to discharge 
the duties of that delicate and difficult trust. I fear that I 
might lack the requisite financial skill, and the high, unbend- 
ing moral firmness which alone can guide that new banking- 
craft, safely through the breakers and quicksands of at- 
tempted frauds, and knavish impositions. I fear that the 
partiality of my friends has induced them to look with too 
favorable an eye upon my qualifications for this station. 
But if I were ever so confidenc of my ability, I find it utterly 
impossible thus suddenly to break up all. my professional re- 
lations and business without doing great injustice to my 
clients and sustaining a pecuniary loss myself which I am 
wholly unable to bear. Were I wealthy or had I not a 
family, I should not mind the sacrifice. Wealth, beyond 
what is necessary to give independence, has no charms for 
me — But you can appreciate it all. I have not time to say 
more, the mail is closing. Nothing new except what you 
have by the papers. 

Respectfully yours 

In great haste, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hoilister, Rochester, N. Y. 


House of Rep. Dec. 24, 1838. 

Sir: At the request of Humphrey Smith Esq. of Collins, 
Erie Co. N. York I enclose you the application of John 


Cast en — as T read the name asking an increase of his pen 
sion for the reasons staled in his petition. 

Respectfully yours, Millard Fillmore. 
J. L. Edwards, Esq., Pension Office. 

MS. collections, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond. 


House of Rep. Dec. 26, 1838. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 21st is received. You must 
by this time have received my ultimatum and I regret ex- 
tremely that it seems to be out of my power to do what you 
seem to think so essential to the union and harmony of the 
whig party. 

I feel much solicitude about our State officers. On the 
judicious selection of these, will mainly depend the success 
of our party, and the whig administration. How would 
Bates Cook or Abner Hazletine answer for Comptr or Secy. 
of State. You must give one of these important offices, or 
Senator to the West and to the old antimasons, or our folks 
will swear that this administration is "stuck in the Clay;" 
and that the antimasons are to be cast off. The country is 
now rife with this apprehension. This rock must be avoid- 
ed or we split upon it. 

I am anxious to see Gov. Seward's message. I doubt not 
it will do equal honor to him and the Whig cause, and the 
great State over which he presides. Nothing new here. 
Bell is speaking on the message generally. W r ise has shot 
his Parthian dart and fled. We progress very slowly. No 
committee yet to investigate defalcations. Rumor says more 
will soon be disclosed. 

Clay and his friends are very anxious and doing every 
thing they can to make every body believe that Abolitionism 
is dead, and that he is the only man that can succeed. 

Yours truly, in great haste, Fillmore. 

Thurlow Weed, Esq. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. V. 



Washington, J any 3, 1839. 

Dear Weed: I returned this evening from N. Y. whither 
I went on Saturday last to attend to a little business, and I 
have just read with surprise your three letters of the 28th, 
29th & 30th, in relation to Mr. Tracy's having a copy of 
your letter to me, which lie is using to embroil you with Mr. 
Spencer. You say too, 

"Some of my friends think that my letter was sent to 
Buffalo with no purpose of good will to me." 

Now I can only say if you have friends who entertain 
that opinion of me, they do not know me as well as you 
ought. It implies a baseness too infamous to attach to any 
gentleman, or pretended gentleman. But I will not dwell 
upon it. I trust you do not credit it. 

Your letter with some others was sent to my partners at 
Buffalo, confidentially, to enable them & some of my politi- 
cal friends there to determine what I ought to do in relation 
to the Comptrollership. It did not occur to me that it con- 
tained a word or sentence that could prejudice you with any 
friend on earth. I sent it as a matter of convenience to my- 
self, that they might see the ground as I saw it, in making 
up their opinion. I wrote you on the 6th Dec. Did I net 
mention that I had sent it? I kept no copy of my letter. 

But it happens that I have your letter and my original 
letter in which I enclosed it, and I send them both to you 
that you may see how far I merit the suspicion of your 
friends. I send my letter because it is due to you, but it was 
written in haste and I do not intend it for any other eye than 
yours. When you have perused it please return it. 

I am utterly surprised to learn that Mr. Tracy has a copy 
of your letter, and astonished to hear that it "has been 
shown to Mr. Spencer, and of course with a design of em- 
broiling my (your) relations with him." 

If this be so, I will not at this time characterize it with 
the epithets it deserves — But you and I would not differ as 


:: the moral \lities of c uch an act. I hr : 
aware of tlic liffic jit position whid 1 . ls the m 

tual friend :' Mr. Seward and Mr. T. • ■" .:. 
friendship between them. I hoped, howevei by pei 
frankness and fairness tc 5th, sc far as I myselt was 
cemed, to do justice to 1 th and offend neither. But 1 1 . 
confess. I am startled a: this apparent perfidy — yes, if 
true, it merits dc mildei a] illation. But] will not tru t 
myself to speak on this subject till I ' n that your le tei 
has been use .'. :': - the base \ arj: : ses which you bust. : .:. 

I shall write Mr. Tracy by this mail and as ~ wish nc 
concealment in this matter sc t^r as I a::: concerned, yon 
are a: lil *rt; tc she v him this letter. 

I will merely add, that I have neither been the supj >rter 
nor oj : ?er :'. Mr. 5] sneer for the Comr. trollershi I did 
not suggest his name, nor indeed have I felt at lit :- 
take an}' p< : in the ma tei Whet t i : i tc I h :.- : :: 
expressed my opinion, out nothing further. I may ha : 
expressed an opinion h a letter but have no re::h : : 
of it. 

Please let me hear from you, and h c _ i : _ me i ... .: 
others may say. 

Your sincere trie ] L 


T. Weed, Esq. 

Jany 4. 

P. S. 1 wrote the foregoing last evening in some haste 
and with considerable feeling, I have since slept and ag i . 
looked over your letters, and "'sober seccr i thoughts" are 
mere i '.: / :; ':;- -:r':: I an: now inclined t: think that 
some designing mischief-making person i« e leavoring tc 
poison our long &: oninterrur. ted frien ' 3 '■•"; I y in fusir - sus- 
picion & jealousy — I am not surj rise I that 3 >u are irrifc 
by the annoyance, yet I ioubt not it will finally turn : rt 
that Tracv neither has 1 copy of T r our letter nor has . 


shown it to Spencer. Let me hear from you fully, freely 
and frankly. 

I am yours truly, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, J any n, 1839. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 7th is received. I have talked 
with Peck, Mitchell, Putnam, Childs and Sibley about Cook 
for Comptroller and they all profess to think well of it. 
Sibley however has got an idea that Spencer wants it, and 
if he does, he seems anxious to have him. But he says if S. 
will take Secy of State and Cook comptr "that is the thing." 

I can assure you that it gives me great pleasure to see the 
thing taking this turn, for from a letter ree'd night before 
last from Speaker Patterson, I was given to understand that 
I would be appointed nolens vol ens. I feel much relieved to 
think I am not to be driven to the unpleasant alternative of 
accepting an office against my better judgment, or rejecting 
it against the wishes of my friends. Nothing new here. 
Clay is anxious and "The old boy in specs" is croaking that 
all is lost if we do not take him. 

Yours &c, In haste, 

M. Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Feby. 6, 1839 

My dear Sir : We have just heard the Whig nominations 
at Albany for State officers and U. S. Senator, and they 
seem to give very general satisfaction. 

Yours of the 22d ult. found me confined to my room by 
indisposition, but I am now so far recovered that I hope to 


be out to-morrow or next day. I am much gratified to see 
such a becoming' modesty on the part of our Whig frien '. • 
at the West in regard to the "Spoils of office." Can any- 
thing be more disgusting than to see them rushing like hun- 
gry expectants to the Executive-Store-House to receive the 
pay for their hired patriotism ? We looked upon it with 
loathing and detestation in our opponents and 1 trust in 
God we shall not imitate their example. But enough of that. 

We have some Presidential matters on hand to which I 
wish to call your attention and that of Governor Seward's 
and Friend Weed's and finally, that of all the discreet and 
holy brotherhood who now rule the affairs of the Empire 

The first and great question is, who are we to have as a 
candidate for President? I had hoped that it would not be- 
come necessary to determine this question or to agitate it 
during the present session of Congress. But to prevent 
agitation is found impossible, and circumstances are now 
transpiring which render it quite certain to my mind that 
the question must be virtually settled here during the rem- 
nant of this session, as short as that is. If therefore, it is 
of any importance to the success of our cause in our State 
that it be settled one way instead of another, there is no 
time to be lost. Any delay must put it forever beyond our 

A very general notion prevailed here at the commence- 
ment of this session, that Mr. Clay and Mr. Webster would 
both withdraw from the canvass, and that Genl. Harrison 
would receive the nomination without opposition. There 
might have been, and probably was, no just ground for this 
opinion, yet, it seems to have spread into the country, and 
the Intelligencer, as you must have perceived, has been fre- 
quently called upon to deny such statements from the 
country papers. It seems our Whig friends in the Ohio 
legislature under the impression that this was the case, or 
believing that in any event Harrison would receive the nomi- 
nation and that his name would prove a tower of strength to 
our discomfitted and broken ranks in that division, have re- 


cently sent a request to their members of Congress, that the 
time for the national convention may be changed and fixed 
at an earlier day to save them from a second defeat at theii 
next election, and recommend next Sept. as the proper time. 

This request is now under consideration here. One meet- 
ing has been held without coming to any conclusion & a 
committee now has the subject under advisement and will 
report to a future meeting. I believe our delegation, with 
possibly one exception, are unanimously against any change 
of the time, but what will he the final determination it is im- 
possible positively to predict. If the change be made, then 
to my mind the fact is clear that the question of candidate 
must be virtually settled here before we separate. It is im- 
possible to prevent it. There will be concert and we cannot 
avoid it. There, will be disseminated from tin's common 
focus to every part of the Union an opinion as to the proper 
candidate, that, will be overwhelming and irresistable when 
it returns again to the convention. It is, therefore, very 
important that the opinion thus disseminated from here be 
correct, for it will be all powerful for good or for evil. 

Now what I want of you, and our most discreet friends 
there, is to tell me which is the. best candidate for us in N. 
York, Clay or Harrison? I lay Webster, my favorite, en- 
tirely out of the question. There is no hope for him. But 
I wish all these folks who are to be the bearers of public 
opinion to be correctly informed which our friends consider 
the strong and the safe man for the Empire State. It must 
be recollected that we have got to cement the fragments of 
many parties and it is therefore very important that we get 
a substance to which all can adhere, or at least that presents 
as few repellant qualities as possible. Into what crucible 
can we throw this heterogeneous mass of old national re- 
publicans, and revolting Jackson men; Masons and anti- 
Masons; Abolitionists, and pro-Slavery men; Bank men & 
anti-Bank men with all the lesser fragments that have been, 
from time to time, thrown off from the great political wheel 
in its violent revolutions, so as to melt them down into one 
mass of pure Whigs of undoubted good mettle? This is he 


great desideratum, and I doubt not your experience will 
soon show that it is much more difficult to bind together a 
majority to act affirmatively than a minority who are often 
pressed together by the superincumbent weight of the ma- 

I have taken some pains to collect information and make 
an estimate of our prospects for the next presidential cam- 
paign. I have embodied this in tabular form and herewith 
enclose it, from which you will see we stand no chance, if 
the election goes into the House. Although we may get 
Connecticutt, yet, we stand an even chance to lose New 
Jersey, and with them both we could only tie our opponents. 
Our only chance therefore is in having one candidate who 
will obtain a majority of the electoral votes. In order to 
determine this it is necessary to see how many States there 
are, that either C. or H. could get. These may be set down 
as Whig States for either candidate. They give 69 votes. 
Those that are considered certain for Van B. give y6, and 
there are 149 doubtful, but some of these are more certain 
for Clay and others for Harrison. Of the 149, I consider 
62 more certain for Clay and 87 for Harrison. Either in 
order to be elected has got to have 148. Add the 69, safe 
for either to the doubtful ones more likely to go for Clay 
and you have 131, being 17 less than a majority. Do the 
same by Harrison's votes and you have 156, being enough to 
elect him and 8 to spare. So you maytake from his either 
Connecticutt or X. Jersey and he would still be elected. 
Whereas if you take from Clay Virginia and Georgia 34 
votes, and add to his New York and Connecticult or N. 
Jersey and he would still lack one of being elected. But you 
will lay down your own premises and draw your own in- 

One thing however you can not fail to observe and that 
is, that without our State, neither can be elected. On that 
must turn tins great question. Therefore in selecting the 
candidate most likely to carry our State, we are not acting 
for the mere selfi-h purpose of saving ourselves, but with 
a more magnanimous object of saving the Union. 


I therefore conjure you to write me freely — write me 
fully, and with all convenient despatch. For on you now 

rests this fearful responsibility. I have no personal pref- 
erences. I only want the man that insures our State — that, 
saves the Union and the Whig cause. 

Pardon this hasty and ill digested letter for really I had 
not time to write shorter. 

I remain your friend, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Hon. G. W. Patterson 


P. S. Since writing the above I have shown it to Messrs. 
Russell, Childs and Peck, and they approve & wish a speedy 
response. J am informed to-day that the time for holding 
the convention will probably be changed. 

Original MS. owned b> Mrs. George W. Patterson, Westfield, N. Y. 

House of Representatives,, Fcby 21, 1839. 

Dear Sir: Yours of the 15th ult. came to hand on the 
23d and I procured Mr. White's signature to the Petition for 
a New Postoffice at White House and then transmitted the 
paper with my recommendation to the P. M. Genl and have 
just ree'd the enclosed refusing the application for the 
reasons stated. 

Your obt. Sevt 

Millard Fillmore. 
W. R. L. Ward, Esq. 

Original MS. in Buffalo Historical Society collections. 

Washington, March 5, 1839. 

Sir: The bearer C)[rlando] Allen, Esq. of Buffalo is 
desirous of having some conversation with you about the 


Treaty with the Six Nations. Mr. Allen is a gentleman with 
whom I have been well acquainted for many years, he i 
familiarly acquainted with everything relating" to the Seneca 
Nation of Indians, and his undoubted integrity and intelli- 
gence justly entitle him to your confidence. 
I have the honor to be 

Your most obt. servt. 
In great haste 

Millard Fillmore. 
Hon. J. R. Poinsett 

War Department. 

By O. Allen, Esq. 

Poinsett collection, Library of Congress. 


Buffalo, April 10, 1839. 

Dear Weed: There is a mystery about this Vice-Chan- 
cellor's appointment that is to me perfectly inexplicable. 
The responsibility of the Executive forbids that I should 
embarrass him by urging any claims for myself or Buffalo; 
indeed, I have no claims to proffer anywhere. It was with 
unfeigned reluctance that I consented to become a candidate; 
but having consented, I must confess that I have felt not a 
little mortified at the cavalier manner in which I have been 

I am first informed that when the Governor was notified 
that the Erie County bar would present my name he said lie 
had concluded to nominate Mr. Whittlesey, and no papers 
could change that determination. That without waiting for 
the papers Mr. W's name was immediately sent in for the 
Senate. It is now rumored here that the Governor has said 
that if the Senate do not confirm Air. W. he shall not nom- 
inate me; that he does not admit that this place [Buffalo] 
has any peculiar claims to the office, but he means to take 


the best man in the district. This is all very well. I cer- 
tainly do not aspire to the office. I have not the vanity to 
suppose that I am "the best men in the district/' and cer- 
tainly shall be the last one to complain if 1 am passed over 
for the sake of arriving at so desirable and praiseworthy a 
result. All should desire that "the best man in the district" 
should be appointed, whether recommended or not. And I 
am only curious now to know if you can inform me who 
will be likely to receive the nomination, if Mr. Whittlesey is 
not confirmed. 

I trust the intimacy of our relations, and the frankness 
due to it, will justify me in soliciting- from you (if you 
know it) the reason why the Governor seems to have so de- 
termined a hostility to my nomination. It strikes me there 
is something about this matter that I do not know, that it 
would be satisfactory to understand. It may be all right, or 
I may have been misinformed, but please to let me know the 
length and breadth of this matter. 

I am truly 

Your friend, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Buffalo, April 23, 1839. 
Dear Weed : Yours came to hand while I was attending 
the circuit at Rochester. The question of vice-chancellor- 
ship is ended. Personally I rejoice at the result. I can say 
truly I did not desire the office, and I doubt not Mr. Whittle- 
sey will discharge the duties in a manner creditable to him- 
self and satisfactory to the community. But in saying this 
I should disguise my own feelings and give a false impres- 
sion as to others if I did not add that there was a strong 
desire to have the office located here. And it is difficult to 
suppress the mortifying reflection that we must yet continue 
to pay tribute to Rochester in all our professional and ju- 


dicial business. It is peculiarly humiliating that this county. 
for the Inst fifteen years, during all the mutations of political 
parties, has never been able to furnish an acceptable candi- 
date for this office, while Rochester and Lock Port have 
each furnished two. It is well calculated to make us think 
that we are but a province of the powers at Albany, courted 
and flattered for a moment, when our votes are wanted, and 
then treated with the utmost indignity and contempt. But 
I will not say more. I can fully appreciate the situation of 
the Governor, and the solicitude Mr. Whittlesey and his 
friends might well feel to receive the appointment. I regret 
extremely that I suffered my name to be sent forward. But 
it was unavoidable. — and at all events it has satisfied my 
friends, of what the.\- seemed reluctant to believe, that I am 
no favorite with the powers that control this administration. 
I regret it not. It has no power to grant what I have any 
desire to receive. I believe no one appointment has been 
made in this county that I had the honor to recommend. 
Doubtless this is all for the best. Time alone can determine. 

I would say a word on the subject of United States Sen- 
ator, but I am aware that it can be of no avail. I desire to 
see you very much and have a conversation with you ; But 
whether I shall till after the next election when all will be 
finally settled for good or for evil, I think is very doubtful. 

Our legislature ought to make some arrangement as to 
the mode of choosing delegates to the National Convention. 
Would it not be well for them to name two, and then recom- 
mend that each congressional district appoint one; in the 
same manner that sucli district has usually nominated its 
member of co)igress? This, or a State convention, it strikes 
me, is the only practical mode. 

I shall be happy to hear from you, and regardless of 
whether the political wdieel in its revolutions carries me up 
or down, I am ever most sincerely and truly 

Your friend 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 



Buffalo, May i, 1839. 

Dear Weed: I have but one moment to say there is a 
strong feeling pervading all the Western part of the State 
for Scott. The impression is that Harrison has been killed 
by Clay, and that there is no hopes of being able to elect 
Clay. If this be so is not our only alternative to lake Gen'l 
Scott. He has gained infinitely upon the affections and con- 
fidence of the thinking portion of the community in his late 
successful efforts to maintain our pacific relations with 

What is said or done there? Nothing can be done with- 
out the concurrence of Mr. Clay's friends. What will they 
try to do in N. York? Finally, let me hear from you. I 
have not time to say more. 

Your friend 

In haste, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

Buffalo, June 5, 1839. 

Dear Weed: Our court is now sitting and I have delayed 
answering yours for a few days to sec our friends from the 
country as they came in to court. I have seen several, 
enough to know that in this county Scott would be supported 
with great enthusiasm fur the presidency. Yet there are a 
few leading men for Clay and some for Harrison, who will 
yield their first preferences with great reluctance ; but there 
are not enough of these to affect us at all in the general 

But reflection has convinced me that the West is not the 
point where action on this subject should commence. Gen- 
erally speaking, the West are for Harrison, and I am satis- 
fied that their personal preferences are not as strong as those 


who are for Clay; and should the West move first in this 
matter, there is great danger thai it will create a jealousy 
among Clay's friends East that will be fatal. It will be at 
once said that this is that factious spirit of antimasonry that 
seeks to bring forward Scott, not to advance the Whig 
cause, but to oppose and defeat Clay. Now it must be ap- 
parent to all, that unless both the Clay and Harrison men 
can, generally, yield their preferences and unite cordially 
in support of Scott, it is worse than idle to make any effort 
in his favor. It is not just towards him, its result will be 
disgraceful to ourselves. We, here, have no assurance that 
those of our brethren East who prefer Clay, are equally 
willing with ourselves to yield their personal preferences 
and go for Gen '1 Scott. Give us that assurance, and we will 
make the welkin ring with his name ; but without that, we 
are disposed to remain where we are — calmly folding our 
arms and silently witnessing the political vessel in which we 
are embarked drift on to the Clay Banks where she will 
founder forever. 

Will not our friends in the River counties and at the 
North, and also in Albany & New York move in this mat- 
ter? If they will I pledge them a response from the west 
that shall come down upon them like the resistless current 
of the Niagara. Dutchess would be a good county to start 
in. Let me know what we are to expect for if they move at 
once we would make arrangements for a convention on the 
4th of July. 

There is a report in circulation here that Mr. Clay has 
written to Mr. Spencer, saying, if his friends think he can 
not get this State, he is willing to decline in favor of Scott. 
Is this so? 

Yours truly 

Millard Fillmore 
Thurlow Weed, Esq. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

The Mr. Spencer referred to was John C. Spencer of Cnnandaigua, at 
this time New York's secretary of state, and later a member of President 
Tyler's Cabinet. 



Buffalo, June 16, 1839. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 12th has this moment come 
to hand. I ought to have said in mine, what I presume I 
did not, that P. A. Barker, Esq. after beating- about a few 
days, told me he could do nothing with the Van Buren men, 
and we have no conservatives. They disclaim the name. 
The few that were so, are Whigs, and unwilling to be known 
by any other name. 

The truth is that the drill sergeants of Loco Focoism are 
too wary to be caught with any hook baited with Scott. 
They march to order, and always wait for marching orders. 
The Whigs must go forward. There is nothing gained by 
any false pretence that this is a loco foco movement for 
Scott. Wkn ground is fairly broken with a reasonable 
prospect of success, we shall doubtless carry many of their 
rank and file. — But their leaders have too deep an interest 
in perpetuating the corrupt dynasty that now reigns at 
Washington, to take any steps that must necessarily divide 
their strength. 

But the point is, will our friends who prefer Clay yield 
him up and cordially support Scott. Without this, all is 
idle. Is there any truth in the report that Clay will yield to 

Truly yours, 
In haste, 


Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Nov. 27, 1839. 

Dear Sir: I have just received yours of the 18th ad- 
dressed to me at Albany, and have with pleasure written a 
letter to the Governor recommending your appointment as 
Supreme Court commissioner, which will go this mail. 


Nothing new here. Members are gathering slowly, and 
sortie think we may have a little flare up at the coins,.-,;-. 

Judge Wilkeson thinks from what the President told him 
that the Indian Treaty will not be ratified. 

Truly Yours 
In haste 

Millard Fillmore. 
G. R. Babcock, Esq. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily B. ALvard, Buffalo. 

Hon. George R. Babcock was appointed Supreme Court commissioner 
by Governor Seward in 1S4 1, and held that office for a number of years. 
In 1845 he was a member of the New Yorl: Assembly, in 1850-52 a State 
Senator. For many years a prominent member of the Erie County Bar, re- 
formed a partnership in 1842 with James O. Putnam, and at Inter periods- 
was associated with Thomas C. Welch, E. C. Sprague and M. B. Moore. 
He was born in 1806, and at the time of his death, Sept. 22, 1876, was a 
member of a commission for the investigation of the New York State 
prisons. Mrs. Emily B. Alward is his daugKcr. 


Washington, Dec. 2, 1839. 
Monday evg. 

Dear Weed : We have spent the day without progress- 
ing below N. J. in the call of members, and had some de- 
bating, no violence, and no decision. For details see the 

Yours of the 28th tilt, came to hand yesterday. We have 
done our duty here. At an informal meeting here, of our 
entire delegation in the city, yesterday, except Gates, 
Palen and Barnard each individual on being called upon 
for his opinion gave it that Mr. Clay could not carry the 
State of New-York and that it could not be carried for him. 
Mr. Mitchell said he communicated the fact to him, and he 
received it in kindness and would make a communication to 
the Kentucky delegates, expressive of his desire that the 
strongest man should be nominated and promising a cordial 
and hearty support. 


This [is] magnanimous, and worthy of Henry Clay. If 
the convention now does its duty and nominates Scott, all 
will be well. In haste, 



Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

The Representatives from New York, alluded to in the foregoing letter, 
were Seth M, Gates, Kufus Palen, Daniel B. Barnard and Charles F. 

from his seat in the house. 

House of Rep. 
Dec. 23, 1839, iy 2 P. M. 

Dear Weed: We have deep snow, and no mails. We 
have just received information from the President that we 
shall have his message tomorrow at 12. We have now come 
to the election of a printer. A proposition has been intro- 
duced to appoint a committee to employ a person to do the 
public printing, who will do it well for the least price. Blair 
is gliding around the Hall like an evil genius. Vanderpool 
is trying to get rid of the question and stop debate by spring- 
ing questions of order. They will doubtless evade it in some 
way or other. 

The Iiarrisburgh nomination takes beyond all anticipa- 
tion. Even the Virginia & N. C. members are now willing 
to admit that it is the strongest that could have been made 
for those States. The Pe.nn. Ohio & Indiana members speak 
with entire confidence of their ability to carry those States 
for Harrison & Tyler. In haste, yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Jany 3, 1840. 

Dear Weed: Both of yours of the 30th came to hand 
last evening, and I am happy to know that my confidence in, 


and frankness to you are duly appreciated. The former has 
had ils growth in a long and well tried friendship, a sourc 
of gratification and pride to me, and the latter is its natural 
fruit. And I am hardly less happy to learn that our sus- 
picions are unfounded that Gov. Sfeward] was opposed to 
Mr. Granger's going into the cabinet. I felt it due to both, 
and to the good of the party of which both are such orna- 
ments, that this intelligence should be immediately com- 
municated to Mr. G. and I accordingly showed him your 
letter and he showed me yours to him on the same subject. 
This is as it should be, and I feel relieved from all anxiety. 

It is however due to you that I state that since I wrote 
you I have been informed that there is more than one of our 
Whig delegation from N. York opposed to G's going into 
the cabinet. Besides the one alluded to I am now told that 
friend Hunt "rather backs water," and Judge Doe prefers 
Mr. Verplank. 1 

Cabinet rumors have undergone a slight modification 
within a few days. It is now said the South must be equally 
represented in the cabinet, and that Preston must be Secy. 
of War. In that case Ewing is to be left out. Bell to take 
the P. O. and Sergeant or Clayton of Delaware to be Secy. 
of the Treasury. There is a want of fitness in this arrange- 
ment to my mind that can only justify it on the ground of 
quieting Southern jealousies. But Old Tip is expected next 
week and then we may knoiv more about it. 

I think N. K. Hall will finally consent to take first Judge 
and if he does, that is best. I am sorry that Clay declines. 
But our Senator and Assembly-men must arrange it. Get 
good men and true and it will work out right. 

Truly yours 

In great haste 


Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

i. Apparently referring to Gulian C. Verplanck. Mr. Fillmore uni- 
formerly misspells the name. 


The following letter was addressed by Mr. Fillmore to 
his constituents, in explanation of his remarks in the House, 
March 6, 7 and 8, 1S40, on the New Jersey contested elec- 
tions : 

To the Electors of the Erie District, in the State of 
New York: 

Fellow-citizens: When your partiality, rather than my 
merits, called me to the distinguished station which I now 
occupy, no one could have anticipated the alarming proceed- 
ings of the present House of Representative^ — much less 
could I have foreseen or dreamed that it was to fall to my 
lot to be the humble actor in those scenes. But, contrary to 
my wishes, and wholly against my expectations, I was 
placed upon the Committee of Elections. Flowever I might 
regret it, I did not feel at liberty to decline this appointment. 
I had already witnessed enough in the House to be fully 
sensible of the arduous labor and the heavy responsibility 
that must rest upon that committee in the contested case 
from New Jersey. As to the manner in which I have dis- 
charged my duty, I have nothing to say ; my acts are before 
you ; but, should they meet your approbation, I can truly 
say, that, next to the approval of my own conscience, noth- 
ing could afford me more sincere gratification. 

But those scenes have passed. The lawless desperation 
that commenced by excluding five-sixths of the whole rep- 
resentation of a State from their seats, has been finally con- 
summated by filling those seats with persons not returned, 
and not proved to have been duly elected. These successive 


outrages upon the Constitution and the laws, have fallen 
upon us with such unexpected and startling - rapidity, that we 
have hardly had time to stop and reflect upon the motive 
that prompted one act, before we were overwhelmed by the 
commission of another of still greater atrocity. Let us now 
pause and look at the great fundamental error which has led 
to these unparalleled scenes of violence in the House, alike 
dangerous and disgraceful to that body and the country at 
large. It must be apparent, that all these scenes of anarchy 
and confusion that so long prevented the organization of the 
House, and retarded the public business, would have been 
avoided, could there have been some certain and indisputable 
evidence that the House was bound to recognize, showing 
who was in fact elected from New Jersey. The pretence, 
that there was a doubt on this subject, led to all this con- 
fusion and alarm. The House was, unquestionably, the ulti- 
mate judge of who was elected; but in its unorganized 
state, it was wholly incapable of going into any inquiry that 
required the testimony of witnesses, or any lengthened pro- 
cess of investigation. It was in an alarming state of dis- 
order and confusion. Any inquiry must therefore be neces- 
sarily limited to a single fact, and that, too, upon written 
evidence of the most undoubted authenticity. And this must 
ever be the case when a new Congress, just elected, at- 
tempts to organize. 

If, then, there were now no law, or regulation, or usage 
on the subject, would not every one see the imperious neces- 
sity, to prevent the recurrence of these lawless scenes by a 
disorganized House, of appointing some other and smaller 
tribunal, already organized, to ascertain, who were elected 
members of the House of Representatives, and, when ascer- 
tained, to make some authentic certificate of that fact, which 
should be conclusive evidence of an election until the House 
could organize, and inquire into the fact for itself? Then 
if it found that the tribunal authorized to judge in the first 
instance had erred, it would reverse its judgment, and 
nullify its certificate, and admit the persons who ought to 
have been admitted in the first place. This would always 


enable the House to organize without any difficulty. The 
only question that could ever arise when a member presented 
himself and claimed the right of participating in organizing 
the House, would be, Does he show a genuine certificate, in 
due form, from the tribunal authorized in the first instance 
to canvass the votes and ascertain who is elected? If so, he 
must take his seat. This is all the fact which the House, 
in its unorganized state, can, with propriety, inquire into. 
In that state it has no presiding officer — no clerk — no com- 
mittees — no journal (for there is no clerk to keep it) — the 
House could not, if the votes were all there, count them. 
But the certificate would require no proof; and, if in due 
form, would be evidence of an election until the House 
could itself inquire into the fact, and ascertain whether it 
had been wrongfully given. In my opinion, this course of 
proceeding, so obviously necessary and just, is the one now 
prescribed by Vna Constitution of the United States, and 
which should have been followed in this case. The depar- 
ture from this prescribed rule, was the first great error in 
acting upon this case, and has led to all the disorder and out- 
rages which we have subsequently witnessed. As this in- 
volves a great constitutional question, which neither the 
majority nor minority of the committee has thought proper 
to discuss, and which I deem of vital importance to the per- 
petuity of our free institutions, I trust I shall be pardoned 
for submitting, as briefly as possible, the argument by which 
I come to this conclusion. If I am right, it shows that when 
our laws are honestly and faithfully administered, they tend 
to no scenes of anarchy and confusion ; if I am wrong, it 
shows the imperious necessity of some new provision on 
tills deeply interesting subject: for no friend of his country 
can desire to see the disgusting scenes of this session acted 
over again. Let us, then, like true philosophers, draw wis- 
dom from this calamity, and turn to that revered charter of 
our liberties, and calmly review its provisions, before we 
conclude that its venerated authors contemptatecLa proceed- 
ing so revolting and dangerous as that which has just been 


The Constitution provides that "each House shall be the 
judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own 
members." It is clear that this clause of the Constitution 
created the House a high judicial tribunal to hear and 
finally determine: first, who was "elected"; secondly, who 
was "returned" ; and, thirdly, whether the person thus 
elected or returned possessed the requisite "qualifications." 
I conceive that these three subjects of judicial investigation 
by the House are entirely distinct, and that any attempt to 
confound them must inevitably lead to confusion and error. 
It is obvious that one man may be duly elected by receiving 
the greatest number of legal votes; and that, by some acci- 
dent or fraud, another may be duly returned ; and that a 
man may be duly elected and returned, and yet not be quali- 
fied, because the Constitution expressly declares that, 

"No person shall be a representative who shall not have 
attained the age of twenty-five years, and been seven. years 
a citizen of the United States, and wdio shall not, when 
elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be 

But the allegations of the respective parties in this case 
raised no question as to the qualifications of either party, 
and, therefore, the inquiry w r as limited to the return and 
election. What, then, is the meaning of these words as used 
in the Constitution What is an adjudication upon the 
"return." and what an adjudication upon the "election"? 
According to all known principles of judicial proceedings, 
there can be but one decision on either, and the investiga- 
tion which leads to that should be full, for it would be final. 
We can only judge of the meaning of the word "return" as 
used in the Constitution, as we judge of all laws, by look- 
ing at the known and invariable use of the word, as applied 
to the subject matter at the time the law was enacted. The 
Constitution was adopted and went fully into operation on 
the 4th of March, 1789. We had then recently separated 
from Great Britain, where representatives in the House of 
Commons, the only popular branch of that Government, had 
been "elected" and "returned" for upwards of 500 years. 


There, the words "election" and "return" had definite and 
fixed meanings. Their elections, from time immemorial, 
had been held by the sheriffs of the counties, by virtue of 
writs issued out of the high court of chancery. The sheriff, 
after holding an election as directed by the writ, canvassed 
the votes, and ascertained who was elected, and endorsed 
his RETURN of that fact upon the writ, and returned it to 
the court whence, it issued. The "return," then, as under- 
stood in England, from which we derived this invaluable 
right of electing our own representatives, as well as the 
language by which we have defined it in our Constitution, 
signified the report or certificate of the officer whose busi- 
ness it was to ascertain the fact, stating who was elected ; 
and, on this report or return, the member took his seat. 

Even in this country, at the time of the adoption of the 
Federal Constitution, the elections, in a majority of the old 
thirteen States, were held by, or under the direction and 
supervision of, the sheriffs of the counties, and returns made 
of the results analogous to those in England ; and that is 
even now the case in some of the old Southern States. This 
practice was continued in New York' until about 1799; and 
the first law in that State, after the adoption of the Federal 
Constitution, required the sheriffs of the several counties to 
return the votes in boxes to the seat of Government, where 
they were canvassed and the result declared by certain offi- 
cers required to perform that duty; and their certificates of 
the result constituted the return by which members took 
their seats. But this practice of sending up the boxes was 
found to be inconvenient, and has been changed in that State 
and many others, and the practice has been generally sub- 
stituted of requiring the officers who receive the votes to 
canvass them, and transmit a certificate of the number to 
some other officer or board, where they are all collected and 
canvassed, and the result made known. 

In New Jersey, for instance, the election is field by town- 
ships, and the three officers holding the poll in each town- 
ship canvass the votes received, and send a certificate of the 
number given for each candidate to the county clerk ; the 


county clerk combine? all these certificates in one and trans- 
mits it to the Governor, and the Governor and Privy Council 
canvass the whole, from the several counties in the State, 
and ascertain who has the greatest number of votes, and is 
therefore elected. This result, by the laws of that State, is 
required to be evidenced by a commission, issued by the 
Governor under the great seal, to the persons duly elected. 
It, therefore, appears clear, that, if we judge of the meaning 
of the word "return" from its well known signification in 
England, when applied to elections, or from its well known 
use in this country at the time of the adoption of the Consti- 
tution, and, by analogy, apply it to the various usages and 
laws of this country, it may be defined to be that certificate, 
commission, or other credential which the law of each State 
has prescribed as evidence that the person to whom it is 
given has been duly elected. This is precisely, then, that 
written evidence, given by an authorized tribunal showing 
who is elected. The person having this evidence, when the 
House meets, has what the Constitution calls a "RETURN," 
and, by virtue of that return, he takes his seat. 

But it has been said that the various certificates sent, or 
reports made by inferior officers or boards to superior ones, 
which do not come to any result, by showing any one elected, 
are returns within the meaning of the Constitution. This, 
I apprehend, is a great mistake. They, like the votes for 
which they are a substitute, are the evidence upon which 
the return is based. They bear the same relation to the re- 
turn itself that the evidence given in a court does to the 
judgment in the case founded upon that evidence. The 
judgment is the decision of an authorized tribunal upon the 
law and the facts of the case, and should be in accordance 
with the law and the fact? ; but whether it is or not, it is 
binding upon all the world, unless some other tribunal has 
the power to review and reverse it, and actually exercises 
that power. 

As I said before, if we look at the reason of the thing, we 
must come to the same conclusion. The vital principle that 
lies at the foundation of all elections is, that the person hav- 


ing the greatest number of votes given by those qualified to 
vote, is elected. But there is much machinery required, 
when an election is by a whole State (as in New Jersey) 
to ascertain the indispensable fact, who has received the 
greatest number of such votes. If the House of Represen- 
tatives should attempt to decide this in the first instance, 
they would never do anything else. Necessity has therefore 
led to the adoption of laws authorizing certain officers to 
receive the votes, and transmit them to a common tribunal 
for the whole election district ; and that tribunal is author- 
ized to declare the result, or, in other words, to look into 
this evidence thus sent to them, and give judgment; and 
the written instrument by which the judgment is evidenced, 
in whatever form it may be, is the "'Return'' contemplated 
by the Constitution. This tribunal, from necessity, stands 
in the place of the House; and, though its means of ascer- 
taining facts and correcting frauds may be, and usually arc, 
much more limited than those of the House, yet its decision, 
when made and promulgated in the mode prescribed by law, 
is equally binding upon all the world, until the House shall 
review and reverse it. 

The very office of the return is to furnish that evidence of 
election that is indispensable to the organization of a House. 
All the votes, or intermediate certificates that come to no 
result, would be perfectly nugatory for this purpose. They 
might furnish evidence from which this indispensable fact 
might be ascertained by time and labor; but, from necessity, 
an immemorial usage has grown up in England, and has 
been adopted by law in every State in the Union, appointing 
some tribunal to ascertain this fact in the first instance, and 
to make some instrument in writing, in the shape of a cer- 
tificate, report, or commission, and this is the return con- 
templated by the Constitution. The House is to judge of 
this return. It may be void on its face, because it does not 
conform to the law by which it is authorized. It may not be 
duly authenticated — there may be two returns to different 
persons, in all other respects perfect, so that the House can- 
not determine that either has a preference over the other. 


In all these and the like cases, the returns would undoubtedly 
be adjudged void. Such a decision would be an. adjudicati n 
upon the return itself. But as the return is only evidence of 
an election, and the House is authorized to judge of the 
election itself, the House may investigate the election, not- 
withstanding the return is in due form, and come to a dif- 
ferent conclusion from what the tribunal did that made the 
return, and reverse its decision, and thereby nullify the re- 
turn. But this last would be a judgment upon the election 
itself; and the effect which it produces upon the return 
would be rather a consequence of the decision on the orig- 
inal merits of the case, than any direct adjudication upon 
the return itself. I hold that whenever the House goes back 
of the returns to ascertain who is elected, it goes into the 
election itself. There is no intermediate and independent 
subject upon which it is authorized to adjudicate between 
the return and the election — the inquiry into the election is 
one and indivisible : and any attempt to separate it into 
parts is preposterous and absurd. There can be but one 
legitimate decision upon it, for that judgment must deter- 
mine who is elected, and that fact being determined, must 
put an end to all further inquiry. I admit that this inquiry 
may be more or less extensive, according to the circum- 
stances in each particular case. The ordinary rules of evi- 
dence would doubtless be applied ; and one of those is that 
every officer is presumed to have done his duty until the 
contrary is proved. Suppose we have passed the return — if 
good, the member holding it takes his seat — if bad, no one 
can be admitted, until the House inquires and ascertains 
who was in fact elected. Let us, then, take this New Jersey 
case, and presume that the officers at the polls did their duty 
and only received legal votes, and duly reported the same 
to the county clerks ; and that the county clerks did their 
duty, and reported all those to the Governor. Acting on 
this presumption, it is admitted on all hands that the com- 
missioned members were elected. If, then, there be no alle- 
gation to the contrary, here the inquiry will end; and the 
House would at once decide upon the evidence, regardless 


of the returns, that the commissioned members were elected, 
and this decision should be final. 

But suppose the non-commissioned claimants should then 
come in and allege (as they do) that the county clerks had 
not done their duty, but had, by accident or design, omitted 
to return the votes of two townships, giving them large ma- 
jorities, which would have changed the result. Should this 
fact be proved, and nothing further be alleged, then here the 
inquiry would stop again, and the House would decide upon 
that evidence that the first presumption was rebutted, and 
that the non-commissioned claimants were duly elected, and 
there would be an end of the investigation, and they would 
take their seats. 

But suppose again, that the commissioned claimants 
should then come in and allege (as they do) that the inspect- 
ors of election in several townships had, by fraud or mis- 
take, returned to the clerk of the county a large number of 
votes for the non-commissioned claimants given by persons 
not qualified to vote, or at polls not lawfully held, and which, 
if deducted from those counted for them and sent to the 
county clerks, would give the commissioned members a 
majority of the votes, and this fact should be proved, then 
the last presumption would be again repelled by proof of 
the actual fact, and the House would decide that the com- 
missioned members were elected and they would take their 

I think it must be apparent to every unprejudiced mind, 
that as the judgment of the House in each of the above 
supposed cases would be precisely the same, and there can 
be and should be but one judgment on the same subject 
(unless the House departs from the uniform course of 
judicial tribunals in the decision of causes), that there can 
be but one trial, and that trial should be so conducted in 
every ca^e as to do full and perfect justice. It is true, in 
cases like that from New Jersey, when the allegations of the 
parties require the House to unravel the whole proceedings, 
from the certificates made by the county clerks down to the 
votes actually received at the ballot boxes, the presumptions 


will alternately vibrate from one sine to the other; yet, at 
last, they must settle and point with unerring certaint) t 
the polar star of truth. 

To persons who are acquainted with judicial proceedings, 
this case presents no novelty. Scarcely a trial is had when 
presumptions are not raised on one side, and then met and 
repelled by the other, until, at last, the parties arrive at the 
substantial truth, and judgment is given. 

But, what is most extraordinary in this case, is, that those 
who have contended for a different doctrine allow no valid- 
ity at all to the commissions of the Governor, given in pur- 
suance of law, and therefore the highest evidence that can 
exist of an election, except a decision of the House itself; 
nor are they willing, when they pass behind the commis- 
sions, and commence an inquiry into the election itself, to 
stop at the first, presumption that the county clerks did their 
duty, and transmitted to the. Governor all the votes they re- 
ceived, but they ask the privilege of repelling this presump- 
tion and showing that certificates of votes were received by 
some of the county clerks which they did not transmit; and, 
if they cannot do this, then they ask that they may go one- 
step further back, and repel the presumption that the town 
officers have done their duty, by showing that they omitted 
to transmit certificates of the votes received in the several 
towns to the county clerks; but, when the other side pro- 
poses also to repel a presumption that the town officers did 
their duty, by showing that they fraudulently or erroneously 
received illegal votes, this is objected to and thought to be 
going too far. It would probably be unjust to suppose that 
a strong desire to have one party succeed instead of the 
other, could so prejudice the mind as to make this difference 
of opinion. I make no such charge. I do not profess to be 
above prejudice. I may be in an error, but I must confess 
my total inability to see why, upon any general principles of 
law or common sense, the House was compelled to stop, in 
rebutting these presumptions, at the precise and only point 
where they operated in favor of the non-commissioned 
claimants and against the commissioned members. This is 


the precise point where the House arrested the investiga- 
tion, and, in the absence of the parties, without hearing- the 
evidence, or the report of the minority of the committee, and 
without permitting any debate, they voted the five non-com- 
missioned claimants into the vacant seats. 

I therefore submit it to you, as my immediate constitu- 
ents, to whom I am responsible for every official act, to say 
whether I have done right in opposing this disorganizing 
and unlawful proceeding from the commencement. Whether 
I have done right in insisting that the persons duly returned 
should in the first instance take their seats. Whether I have 
done right — after these returns and the laws and commis- 
sions from the Executive of a sovereign State were tram- 
pled under foot, — to insist on a full inquiry into all the 
frauds charged, to ascertain who was elected. And, finally, 
whether I did right, when I saw the most venerated and 
sacred principles of the Constitution about to be desecrated, 
and the right of speech tyrannically suppressed, to stand up 
and resist this despotic assumption of power to the last. I 
can only regret that, in this emergency, my ability has not 
been equal to my zeal, and that I have been compelled to 
stand by, an indignant but impotent witness of a deed that 
strikes to the very vitals of the Constitution. If the laws 
and officers of a sovereign State are to be trampled under 
foot by the federal power; if the right to judge of an elec- 
tion is to be converted into a power to elect by the House ; 
then our elections by the people are but a mockery; a small 
majority can always increase its power at pleasure, and the 
House of Representatives will cease to reflect the wishes or 
will of the people. 

I am, your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore. 

See I. Fillmore, pp. 148-156. 



Washington, April 4, 1840. 

Dear Weed: Some days since, I received a letter pur- 
porting to come from Gov. Seward, asking my consent to 
stand as a candidate for Lieut. Gov. Morgan and I looked 
it over and had no hesitation in coming to the conclusion 
that it was a forgery and probably by some of our political 
enemies. I therefore returned it to the governor under 
Morgan's frank, fearing that if I wrote under my own they 
might be watching and purloin the letter from the P. office. 
Time enough has elapsed to hear from the governor on the 
subject, and yet I have heard nothing. I wish you would 
inquire into the matter a little and let me know what it 

Stanley has got an order from the House today author- 
izing his committee to send for persons & papers, and assures 
me that in a few days he will let you into the secrets of the 
palace, so far as to see what its furniture cost at least. 

I send you duplicate copies of my letter for your con- 
venience in publishing and can assure you that I feel much 
nattered at the more than justice you have already done me, 
not only in your letter but in your paper. You will see that 
day before yesterday I had a little brush with the chairman 
of the committee on elections. A very imperfect notice is 
taken of it in the Madisoiiaii this morning on the 2d page. — 
Possibly a better account may be found in the letter writer 
of the express [sic] in his letter of the 2d instant. I should 
not have felt myself justified in relating the anecdote had it 
not been in defence of an attack perfectly wanton and un- 
provoked. But as it was I could not resist it, and to my 
utter surprise it took with every one, and he is now not in- 
frequently called the "d old rum chairman/' 

I feel great relief to know that the Registry law is so well 
disposed of. I regard it as an unfortunate business at best, 
but had the governor vetoed the Bill it would have been 
destruction to us all. 


Every thing looks well here. Our Southern friends are 
cheering no remarkably. We fee 1 at tins moment much 
solicitude about Conn 1 . But our friends here are quite con- 
fident of success. 

Will our State be fully represented in the Young men's 
convention at Baltimore? I think this important. The 
steam must be kept up. 

Yours truly 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Tlollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


House of Rep. June i, 1840. 

Dear Weed: Unearthly efforts are now making- by the 
administration party to turn the current again in their favor. 
They have constantly prophesied that the enthusiasm which 
showed itself in favor of Harrison was evanescent and 
ephemeral, and that it would be succeeded by a deadly 
apathy. Is there not much reason to fear this may be the 
case. My information is that they are much better organ- 
ized and more active in our State than the Whigs. Many of 
our folks seem to think the work already accomplished. 
This is a great mistake. Our foe is active, vigilant and un- 
principled beyond all former example. The Extra Globe 
is a perfect Bohon Upas in the field of truth and virtue. Its 
noxious leaves are falling in every town and hamlet and 
rumor says the deputy marshalls for taking the census are 
to be converted into special agents for the distribution of 
this poison in every family throughout the United States. 

Try to arouse our folks to a sense of their danger. Let 
every county, town and school district be organized with its 
vigilance committee and see that they are supplied with 
proper intelligence to counteract all the base fabrications 
with which the administration press now teems. It is our 
only security — it is the only salvation of the country. 


I write in much haste amid the confusion of the Mouse, 
but am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

P. S. We are making arrangements to give a little more 
efficiency to the Madisonian. It is the only paper that we 
have here that exposes the corruptions of the administra- 
tion. The Intelligencer is no partizan paper. It is good in 
its sphere but worth nothing to meet the vile slanders and 
base fabrications of the Globe. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, June 23, 1840. 

Gentlemen ; I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your polite invitation of the 20th instant to join my 
fellow citizens at Philadelphia in celebrating the approach- 
ing national Anniversary — Nothing surely could give me 
greater pleasure, but I regret to say that my constant and 
unremitted duties on the Committee of Elections, which, for 
many weeks past, have wholly excluded me from all par- 
ticipation in the proceedings of the House, will, from neces- 
sity, compel me to forego that enjoyment. 

Certainly there has been no time since the close of the 
Revolution when the true friends of constitutional liberty 
"have had more reason than now, to gather around the altar 
of freedom and light the torch of patriotism from its conse- 
crated fires. I rejoice to feel that we are now witnessing 
the expiring agonies of a dynasty that came into power upon 
professions and pledges the most sacred ; which have been 
violated in a manner the most shameless and disgraceful. 
Pledged to one presidential term, it continued two — Pledged 
to retrench the expenses of government, it has more than 
trebled them — Pledged to reform abuses in the Executive 
department, it has corruptly multiplied them beyond all for- 


mer example — Professing to give us a better currency, it has 
destroyed the best the world ever knew—professing to be 
the friend of the poor, it first deprived them of employment, 
and now proposes permanently to reduce their wages to the 
verge of starvation fixed in European governments — pro- 
fessing democracy, it has its agents traversing Europe, 
hunting out the practices of Monarchical governments to in- 
troduce them here — professing abhorence of a National 
Bank, it proposes to establish one in the Sub Treasury more 
powerful, more dangerous and more liable to corruption 
than any with which a deceived and insulted nation was ever 
cursed; Professing Republicanism, its leading measures 
tend to consolidation and the concentration of all power in 
the hands of the Executive. 

A party that has thus notoriously violated all pledges and 
shamelessly thrown oft" the garb of hypocrisy by winch it 
sought power, will be unscrupulous in the use of any means 
to retain it. Hence the infamous slander and defamation by 
which a subsidized press has attempted to blacken the char- 
acter and tarnish the fair fame of one of the purest, noblest 
and most disinterested patriots of the present day, merely 
because he has received an unsolicited nomination for the 
Presidential chair — Hence the bold and shameless refusal 
of the administration party in the House of Representatives 
to permit any enquiry into the alleged abuses of the govern- 
ment. Hence the arbitrary exercise of power to suppress all 
debate in the House by which their infamy and corruption 
would be exposed : And hence the unparallelled outrage by 
which a sovereign state of the Revolution has been disfran- 

But their mad efforts are all in vain — The days of this 
abominable administration are numbered; The loathsome 
stench of its corruption, hypocrisy and wickedness loads the 
tainted air and calls down upon its unrighteous head the 
concentrated curse of an insulted and plundered nation — 
The People with a unanimity unexampled and an energy as 
resistless as the torrent of Niagara will sweep them from 
the high places which they have desecrated and polluted, and 


by electing William Henry Harrison bring back the gov- 
ernment to its original purity and republican simplicity. 

But I have already said more than I intended when 1 
took up my pen — I write in much haste and must be par- 
doned for any veibal inaccuracies. At all events, my heart 
will be with you on that great Jubilee and you will please 
accept my most grateful acknowledgments for the high 
honor you have done me by your invitation and you will 
please also to pardon me for presenting through you to my 
fellow citizens on that occasion the following sentiment. 

ISPThe Union — The bond of brotherhood formed by 
the patriotic Whigs of the Revolution — May their true 
descendants, the Whigs of 1840, preserve it from the foul 
touch of nullification and the corroding rust of Federal Lo~ 

I have the honor to be 

Your most obt. serv 1 & 
Fellow citizen 

Millard Fillmore 

Messrs Charles A. Repplier John Millor & S. C. Cooper. 


Drecr collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


Buffalo, Augt 25, 1840. 

Dr Weed: Not anticipating the pleasure of seeing you 
here immediately I forward enclosed ree'd this morning. 

It is court time and I am very busy but I can assure you 
all is politically well here. I know little of the city, and little 
can be known until 3 days before the election, but I have 
been into the country north and south and we were never 
stronger in the Whig cause than this day. You need have 
no fear of Erie. We are certain for 2600, may come up to 


Send me a specimen of Bond's and Ogle's speech which 
ypu have printed. 

[Millard Fillmore] 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Ilollistcr, Rochester, N. Y. 

Buffalo, Sept. 6, 1840. 

Dear Weed: I want the news a little oftener, you will 
therefore please stop your Semi Weekly Journal to me and 
send the daily. 

All things look well here. I can not doubt that we shall 
give as great a majority in this county as we did in 1S38, and 
probably some larger. 

Can you not get up a small pamphlet containing in chron- 
ological order the material portions of the President's 
"Plan for organizing the Militia" — for the people begin to 
inquire in earnest on this subject. Such a publication in 
order to give it the stamp of authenticity should not only 
contain actual extracts with the true dates, but a reference 
to the document and page where they may be found in the 
original, and the correctness be certified by some well 
known responsible person. Any thing else will be denied 
and disbelieved. In haste, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

Buffalo, Sept. 15, 1840. 
Hon. Geo. W. Patterson, 


Sir: The Whigs of Western New York who have stood 
firm in the darkest period of Political despotism, cheered 
by the prospect of the final triumph of the principles for 
which they have so long and so arduously contended, intend 


to celebrate the Victory of the Thames achieved by the 
American arms tinder Gen'l Harrison, on the 7th day of 
October, next, in this city. We feel that we arc approach- 
ing a crisis in the political history of this country second 
only to that great struggle that gave us independence and 
freedom. It is proper therefore that we should meet, con- 
sult and deliberate, that we may act with concert and 

Trusting that you are animated by a similar feeling, we 
take great pleasure in inviting you to be present on that 
occasion, and give us your aid in the great work of Reform. 
Many of the most distinguished Orators in the Union have 
been invited and are expected to address the assemblage. 

We have selected Wednesday instead of Monday, the 
anniversary of that battle, to avoid any desecration of the 

With sentiments of high regard, 

We are your fellow citizens 

Millard Fillmore, 
Wm. A. Moseley, 


Thomas T. Sherwood, 
Wm. Ketchum, 
Seth G. Hawley, 
John B. Macy, 

Corresponding Com. 

P. S. Please extend this invitation to all your friends. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Geo. W. Patterson, Westfield, N. Y. 

The above circular letter was addressed to Hon. Geo. W. Patterson, Greigs- 
ville, Livingston Co., N. Y., and bears Mr. Fillmore's frank as Member of 
Congress. The letter was lithographed in facsimile of Mr. Fillmore's writing, 
and was no doubt widely sent out, the individual addresses being added. 


Washington, Dec. 20, 1840. 

Dear Sir: Yours of the 12th came to hand last evening. 
You need indulge no apprehensions of my entering into any 


appointments of a local character out of my own district. 
They afford vexation enough for me. and so far from any 
desire to add to it, I would much prefer disposing of the 
little stock I have on hand. 

Really it seems to me that we are in danger of being: 
utterly and forever disgraced by this detestable scramble for 
office. I understand they have come down upon General 
Harrison like a pack of famished wolves, and he has been 
literally driven from his castle and compelled to take refuge 
in Kentucky and is now seeking safety in flight. They have 
had the shameless impudence not only to make themselves 
his unbidden guests at his table, but while thus enjoying his 
generous hospitalities to solicit him for official favors. 
Heaven save general Harrison from such friends and this 
country from such officers. I insist that such men are 
neither patriots nor whigs and that the whig press ought to 
come out universally and administer such a rebuke to these 
selfish, spoil hunting parasites as will drive them back to the 
party to which they belong. They have no rights here and 
we are in danger not only of being utterly disgraced, but 
utterly ruined by their association. 

You have all the news by the papers except what relates 
to official intrigues. I think that project of which you spoke 
to me at Rochester is wholly abandoned. 

Truly yours in great haste Millard Fillmore. 

Hon. T. Childs. 

P. S. The mail boy stands waiting and I have not time to 
read over. 

Etting co''ect:on. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

"confidential" to tiiurlow weed. 

Washington Sunday evg. Dec. 27, 1S40. 
Dear Weed : I thank you for the conspicuous station and 
liberal comments upon my resolution as to the sale of Lake 
property belonging to the U. S. 


Yours of the 23d is rec'd. I am thinking that Spencer's 
appoint [merit] as Comptroller is very well. ] do not see 
how you can do better. But what is Gen'i V. R. 1 looking 
after. Let me know the gossip. 

Rumor says Talmadge has made up his mind to try for 
Collector of N. York city. Probably it is so. I know noth- 
ing of his chances. 

Clay has not returned from N. York. Expected to night. 
Nothing new here as to cabinet matters. 

But now to the Confidential. — I believe all the Whig dele- 
gation from our State are for Granger's going into the cab- 
inet as secy, of the Navy with one excepton — and rumor 
says he, the exception, professes to speak the sentiments of 
Gov. Seward, &c. and that he is for Mr. Verplank. Now 
I want to say in your ear, that Mr. Granger acted a most 
magnanimous part towards Governor S. last summer, not 
only by discouraging all attempts to bring him, G., up in 
opposition but by giving him a most cordial and enthusiastic 
support. And for this reason we are all a little surprised to 
see the Governor and those in his confidence secretly oppos- 
ing G's appointment. And while I am on this subject I may 
as well say another thing, and that is, that I find a very gen- 
eral opinion prevailing here, that none of our old antima- 
sonic friends, especially of the west, with the exception of 
Mr. Whittlesey, have the confidence of the State adminis- 
tration. This jealousy, whether well or ill founded, is 
working an alienation in that hitherto fruitful portion of the 
political vineyard, that if not attended to, will produce bitter 
fruits another year. 

I know you are right. I know you can appreciate the 
importance of allaying these suspicions by a just and gm- 

1. "Gefl'l V. R." was Major General Solomon Van Rensselaer, who for 
seventeen years had been postmaster at Albany, but was removed in 1839 
by President Van Burcn, and at this time was mentioned in connection 
with various offices, that of Collector of the Port of New York among 
others. (Sec, for documents on S. Van Rensselaer's official service, Mrs. 
C. V. R. Bonney's "Legacy of Historical Gleanings," vol. 2.) Frederick A. 
Tallmadge (not "Talmadge"), Representative in Congress from the 5th 
New York City district, was another reputed candidate for the collectorship. 


erous confidence towards some men in the west. I do not 
ask it myself. I saw that T committed the unpardonable sin 
when I consented to stand as a candidate for the office of V. 
Chancellor against Mr. W. — But no person has less reason 
to complain of that result than myself ; yet from that hour 
I have been treated as though / ought to be an enemy. 

But I have said more than I intended because I deemed it 
of importance to the party that some of our friends at Al- 
bany should know these things. Please make such use of the 
information as you please, but burn this letter. 
Sincerely your friend, 

Millard Fillmore. 

P. S. Who is talked of for Secretary of State? 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollistcr, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Jan. 15, 1841. 

Dear Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt 
of your communication, as President of the meeting held 
at Buffalo on the anniversary of the burning f the Caro- 
line, with a copy of the proceedings of that meeting. 

Permit me to tender to you, and through you to my fel- 
low-citizens of that meeting, my grateful acknowledgments 
for the flattering manner in which they were pleased to 
speak of my humble efforts to obtain redress for that out- 
rage. It is true that the subject in its present shape does not 
belong to the legislative department of the Government, but 
after having waited so long for Executive action, without 
being able to ascertain that anything had been done to obtain 
redress, I felt it my duty again to call the attention of the 
President and the country to the subject. 1 confess I was 
somewhat surprised to find that no answer had been given 
by the British Government to the demand of our Minister 
for redress, made more than two and a half years since, and 
that no instructions had been given by our Government here 


to our Minister at London to insist upon an answer. Even 
the letter of the Secretary of State, yon will perceive, was 
written after my resolution was adopted calling upon the 
President for this information. 

I am gratified, however, to find that even at this late day 
the Government has taken a stand to maintain the su- 
premacy of our laws and the integrity of the Union. This is 
all that is necessary. I would commit no wrong, nor would 
I submit to any indignity. I am for peace — for an honor- 
able peace, such as equals have a right to claim of each 
other, submitting to nothing that is unjust, and exacting 
nothing but what is clearly right. If we cannot have peace 
on these terms, then, but not till then, I am for war. It is 
the last appeal of independent freemen to the great Arbiter 
of nations, and should never be made till all honorable 
efforts to repel injury or obtain redress have failed. 

I have the honor to be. 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Doct. H. R. Stagg, President, &e. 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser and Journal, Jan. 23, 1841. 


Washington, Jany 17, 1841. 

Dear Sir : Last night I received the enclosed from the 
Secretary of War in answer to your inquiries. 

I also have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of 
yours of the 10th giving the "War movements" against the 
Indian Treaty, for which please accept my thanks. The 
paper containing the proceedings has not yet come to hand. 
I am anxious to see it. 

I hope McLeod will be acquitted, and that will end the 
second Patriot war. 

Nothing except what you see by the papers. I just learn 
from Albany that Clary is nominated for first Judge; and 


Love for Surrogate. Good appointments but I had been 
informed they would not accept. Since they are, I 
hope they will. 

Truly Yours, In haste, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Wm. Ketchum, Esq. 

Original MS. in Buffalo Historical Society collections. 

The enclosures referred to relate to an appointment of a sub-agent for the 
New York State Indians. 

Joseph Clary was appointed Eirst Judge of the Common Fleas. Erie 
County, Jan. 15, 1S41; Thomas C. Love was appointed Surrogate of Eric 
County, on the same day; both appointees served. 


Washington, Feby 6, 1841. 

Dear Weed: Yours of the 31st ult. is received. I have 
been strongly opposed to an extra session, and am still if it 
can be avoided, but the course of events here has unfor- 
tunately precipitated us upon the discussion of the supposed 
measures of the incoming administration in a way to give 
our opponents the benefit of every thing that is odious and 
to give us no. benefit from any thing that is popular. The 
whole discussion has been fraught with much mischief, and 
it has done much to render an extra session indispensable or 
at least politic. It has sown disunion and alarm in our ranks 
and strengthened the confidence of our enemies. The only 
corrective is in the actual measures of the new administra- 
tion, and I fear nothing from an Extra Session if we are 
enabled to carry our measures, but if we are not then we 
shall be irretrievably damned. But I hope this necessity may 
still be avoided. We shall know soon. 

You say, "Russell writes the Governor that there is to be 
a vacancy in the Senate whether Wright resigns or not? 
What does this mean ?" 

Had you not before heard that a vacancy was likely to 
occur by the resignation of Mr. Talmadge? Please let me 
know as I have reasons for some curiosity on that subject. 


It is due to you as a friend to state that if a vacancy does 
occur and there is a reasonable chance of my success, I shall 
be a candidate. What do you think of it? are you com- 
mitted to any one? Can you tell me who will probably be 

We have nothing new. Considerable intriguing for the 
Cabinet appointments. 1 think Granger will succeed, but 
we shall soon know as Gen. H[arrison] will be here on 
Tuesday when I hope the matter will be put at rest. 

The mail is closing. Let me hear from you at your 
earliest convenience. In haste, 


Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Washington, Feby 16, 1S41. 

Dear Weed: I have yours of the 10th and you will 
accept my most grateful thanks for the friendly feeling it 
evinces. You have said all I desire, indeed, all I would have 
you do under any circumstances. I know your heart is right. 
I ask no pledge. 

I can not well explain on paper why I asked you if you 
had not heard of Talmadge's intended resignation before, 
but I shall be with you in a few days and then you shall 

It is not yet certain, but more than probable, that Tal- 
madge will resign. 1 understand that he is anxious that his 
brother should be appointed to some lucrative office, which 
would be a common relief, as I understand they are jointly 
involved. But this can not be, and under these [MS. cut] 
lucrative offices such as collector, post master, or District 
atty in N. York, and if granted of course he must resign. 
This is rumor. I have no communication with Talmadge on 
the subject. 

The new cabinet takes well here, and upon the whole, I 
think the best that could have been made. W r e do not yet 


know that Badger will accept, and if he does not, we shall 
have further trouble. 

I am gratified to hear that Gov. S[eward] will not be a 

candidate for the Senatorship. Independently of any per- 
sonal feeling I might be supposed to have on the subject, 
and even at the hazard of indelicacy in saying it, 1 must say 
that I think his course in this matter is elevated, magnani- 
mous and statesmanlike, and must meet the approbation 
of all. 

I understand but few appointments will probably be 
made, immediately. The cabinet and a few of the important 
offices connected with the Revenue and Post office are prob- 
ably all. 

I do not think the question of an extra session yet fully 
settled, and I have strong' hopes we may avoid it. 

[Millard Fillmore] 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Albany, April 29, 1841. 

My dear Sir: I arrived here last night. You see by the 
papers Talmadge has returned home and does not intend to 
resign. This is doubted but we hear nothing here on the 

Should a vacancy occur I am informed from good author- 
ity that neither Gov. Seward nor Mr. Yerplank will be a 
candidate. My friends here think there would be no doubt 
of my election. Mr. Talmadge is expected up and we may 
then know more about it. 

Our folks are preparing to instruct Air. Wright. 
Truly yours 

In haste 

Hon. T[imothy] Childs 
Rochester, N. York 

Conarroe collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 



Washington House of Rep. 
July 5, 1 84 1. 

Sir: 1 have the honor to enclose you a draft on the 
Secretary of the Navy from the exploring- expedition with 
a letter from Joseph Clary, Esq., a constituent of mine, 
asking a draft on N. York for the amount of $2,400. 

Please send me a treasury draft for the amount, as di- 
rected in his letter, and if it he necessary that I endorse the 
enclosed please return it by the bearer. 

Respectfully Yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon G. E. Badger 

Secy of Nary. 

Please Return Mr. Clary's letter. 

Navy Dcpt. misc. letters. 

Endorsed: "Accepted & retd to Mr. Fillmore 6 July 1841." 



Buffalo, Sept. 20, 1841. 

My dear Sir: Doct. Foot[e], who has been for many 
years the principal editor of the Whig paper in this city is a 
candidate for the office of Post Master, and he has long since 
received the recommendation of the late Post Master Gen- 
eral to the president, but no appointment has yet been made. 

The present incumbent is a foreigner, admittedly incom- 
petent to discharge the duties of the office, and whose prin- 
cipal business it has been to electioneer for the late adminis- 
tration. The President assured me a few days before I 
left the city that he should act on this case as soon as con- 
gress adjourned. My object therefore is now to request you 
to call his attention to the subject and urge an appointment, 
and if necessary to request you to speak a word in favor of 


the Doctor. He is honest, talented and industrious and un- 
fortunately poor and at an early day when our other whig 
paper here came out for Mr. Clay, he took the ground man- 
fully for General Harrison and maintained it throughout 
the contest. I deem him in all respects worthy and highly 
deserving and sincerely hope he may receive the appoint- 

I have purposely refrained heretofore from taking any 
part in this case as between the several candidates, but in 
consequence of his having been recommended, and from the 
known fact that he alone has not been 2 Clay man, I consider 
he is the only one who can probably be appointed, and "our 
sufferings is intolerable" with the present incumbent, I 
therefore again express the wish that the Doctor may be 
forthwith appointed. His name is Thomas M. Foot[c]. 

Respectfully Yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Hon. D. Webster 

Webster collection, Library of Congress. 

Thomas M. Foote (not "Foot'') was for many years prominently iden- 
tified with the interests of Buffalo, and in some degree with the affairs of 
the State and nation. A physician by profession, he early abandoned medi- 
cine for journalism. Coming to Buffalo about i S35, being then 24 years 
old, he was given editorial management of the Buffalo Commercial Adver- 
tiser, then owned by Messrs. Hezekiah A. Salisbury and B. A. Manchester. 
Later in that year, Mr. Salisbury withdrew and Dr. Foote and Guy H. 
Salisbury became joint proprietors with Mr. Manchester, and associate 
editors. From that time until his death, February 20, 1S5S, with but one 
or two brief intervals, Dr. Foote was the editorial head of the Commercial 
and the ablest figure of his day in journalistic life in Buffalo. For many 
years the warm personal friend of Mr. Fillmore, it was not surprising that 
in 1S40, when Mr. Fillmore became vice-president. Dr. Foote should have 
been favorably considered for diplomatic appointment. President Taylor 
made him Charge d' Affaires of the United States at Bogota, and in 1850, 
Mr. Fillmore, having succeeded to the Presidency, appointed him to a 
similar office at the Court of Vienna. These are the only Federal offices 
he ever held, Mr. Fillmore's earlier efforts to have him appointed post- 
master of Buffalo coming to naught. On the accession of President Pierce, 
Dr. Fcote resigned, and returning to Buffalo resumed his editorial and 
proprietary connection with the Commercial. In 1835, with his partner of 
many years, the Hon. Elam R. Jewett, he disposed of his newspaper in- 
terests and with Mr. Jewett made a tour in Europe. On this visit they 
met Mr. Fillmore and appear to have travelled with him for a time. Re- 
turning to Buffalo in 1856, Dr. Foote for a short period resumed editorial 


work, his career being ended by a paralytic attack, which resulted in his 
death or: the date named. That he was a scholarly, able writer, adroit in 
argument as he was keen and vigorous in his style, an examination ot the 
editorial columns of the Commercial Auvertiser throughout the many years 
of his activity will attest. The postmaster at Buffalo whose removal Mr. 
Fillmore urged in the above letter, was Philip Dorsheimer, succeeded, Oct. 12, 
1841, by Charles C. Haddock. In 1845 Mr. Dorsheimer became postmaster 


Buffalo, Sept. 22, 1841. 

My dear Sir: Finding to my surprise that a part of the 
appropriation for a sea wall for the protection of our harbor 
had not been expended, though appropriated in 1838, I 
immediately applied to the War Department, having charge 
of that matter, for an explanation. Knowing that our citi- 
zens take a deep interest in this matter, and by this neglect 
we have lost the balance of that appropriation, and cannot 
expect a re-appropriation for the same object, I take the 
liberty of enclosing you the letter of the acting Secretary of 
War, with a report from the Topographical Bureau, which 
will show by whose order this money has been withheld, and 
finally lost to the object for which Congress appropriated it, 
by relapsing into the Treasury. 

You are at liberty to publish the same for the information 
of all who feel an interest in this subject, so intimately con- 
nected with the commerce and prosperity of the city. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

[To the Editor, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser.'] 

It appears from the correspondexicc referred to in Mr. Fillmore's letter, 
that an unexpended balance for the sea wall at Buffalo and the works under- 
taken in 1838 in Buffalo harbor, amounting to $9,33 2. 00. not being drawn from 
the Treasury before December 31, 1840, under the law, lapsed to the Surplus 
Fund. The work, therefore, of protecting Buffalo's water front, which the citi- 
zens had thought well provided for under the appropriation of 1838, was, in 
part, defeated and had to be taken up anew with a later Congress. 

The correspondence in this case includes letters from Albert M. Lee, Acting 
Secretary of War; T. J. Abert, Colonel of Corps of Topographical Engineers; 
Hon. J. N. Poinsett, Secretary of War; and Hon. John Bell, Secretary of War 
of later date. This correspondence is published in the Buffalo Commercial Ad- 
vertiser and Journal, September 28, 1841. 



Buffalo,, Sept. 23, 1.841. 

Dear Weed : We have called a county convention with a 
view of sending delegates to the State convention. I hope 
our friends at Albany will make ample preparation for that 
convention, and leave nothing to the indiscretion of hasty 
action. Resolutions and a brief but pertinent address should 
be carefully prepared & well considered before the meeting. 
Don't fail to have this attended to in time ; and by the proper 

. Ewing's letter and the Whig Address have created a great 
sensation throughout the country. Webster's position cre- 
ates some embarrassment, and I fear in the end will be of no 
use to the country and fatal to him. I have heard of but 
two Tyler men in this city and none in the country, and I 
need not add that both of these are applicants for office. 

Permit me to suggest that as the people in the State con- 
vention are to act in their primary and sovreign capacity, it 
might be well for their proceedings to express their appro- 
bation or disapprobation of the conduct of their representa- 
tives in Congress, and of the President, and especially on 
subjects where they have differed. 

Certain well known and undisputed principles of the 
Whig party should be strongly presented, such for instance 
as the ineligibility of the President after one term ; the 
establishment of a sound and uniform currency, and the 
separation of the purse and the sword from the hands of 
the executive. The president should be respectfully called 
upon to unite with the whigs in Congress in carrying out 
these great whig measures, and in purging official stations 
from incompetent persons and political brawlers, and filling 
their places with proper men. And if he is not willing to do 
this he should then be called upon to resign, and give place 
to one that will. 

I am surprised at the misrepresentations of some portion 
of the Whig press, and particularly the Courier & Enquirer 


in respect to Mr. Granger. They have clone him great in- 
justice, and by so doing they do great injury to the party. 

It is but saying the truth when I say that Air. Granger at 
Washington in the department over which he presided had 
acquired an enviable reputation. He has exceeded the most 
sanguine expectations of his friends, and disappointed and 
silenced his enemies, and without any personal difference 
between himself and the president, rather than separate 
from his friends in Congress or the Cabinet, he voluntarily 
relinquished the high station which he held, and the flatter- 
ing prospects of distinction before him. and resigned his 
office. None could show more disinterestedness or true mag- 
nanimity of character, and it is painful to see it so ungener- 
ously rewarded. 

I am anxious to see whether Tyler will not make an effort 
to get back to the Whig party, and regain their confidence. 
If so, we will soon see it in the new appointments, not only 
by their numbers, but by their character. 

[Millard Fillmore] 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

■ to the secretary of the navy. 

Committee Room, 
January 15, 1842. 

Sir: The Committee of Ways & Means desire to know 
the reasons which induce you to ask for $5,000 for the con- 
tingent expense of your office, instead of $3,000 the sum 
usually appropriated for that object. 
Very respectfully 

Yr. Obt. Servt. 

Millard Fillmore 
Ch. of C. of W. & Means 
Hon. A. P. Upshur, 

Secretary of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 



House of Rep. Jany 19, 1842. 

Sir: In view of the wants of the Treasury and from a 
strong desire to retrench the expenses of the government, I 
am instructed by the Committee of Ways and Means to ask 
you whether, in your opinion, the public service would suffer 
if the whole amount appropriated to the Naval service for 
the current year, was not to exceed five or six millions of 
dollars; and also what items in the estimates will in your 
judgment best bear a reduction. 

Your answer to these two queries at your earliest conveni- 
ence will much oblige 

Yr. Obt. Servt. 

Millard Fi llm ore 

Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy, of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 


Washington, Jany 22, 1842. 

Dear Weed: I have waited long for a letter from you. 
I intended to see you in N. York, but we missed each other. 
You were engaged and I did not stay as long as I intended. 

We are in a bad way here. 1 think the party must break 
up from its very foundations. There is no cohesive principle 
— no common head. Tyler seems yet uncertain. He and the 
Locos have been coquetting for a long time. They do not 
want him, yet they wisli to keep up the. breach between him 
and the Whigs and I think they will succeed. 

The Madisonian you see plays the pimp for both sides, 
and does the administration more injury than 10 discreet 
papers can do good. 


The country is suffering so much for a currency that I 
fear they may too eagerly embrace the fiscal plan recom- 
mended. I consider it as recommended as combining all the 
dangerous and odious features of the Subtreasury and a 
national Bank. But what we are to do God only knows. 

The mail closes. Truly Yours, 


Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

to the secretary of the navy. 

House of Rep. 
Janry. 26, 1842. 

Sir : I perceive by the papers the laws relating to the 
Navy have been collected and published with the annual 
appropriations for the same. 
Can you furnish me a copy? 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Navy Department. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

navy department estimates. 

Committee Room 
Feb. 7, 1842. 

Sir: In reply to your note of the 5th instant, I beg leave 
to inform you that your letter of the 17th ultimo, which was 
an answer to one which I addressed to you in relation to the 
amount asked for the contingent fund of your office, was 
laid before the Committee, and after due consideration on It, 
the amount reported in the Bill was agreed upon. 

With regard to No. 70, the other item to which you call 
my attention, I have to state, that the committee discovered 


that there was a difference of $2,000 between the printed 
estimate, and the manuscript estimate of the Commissioners 
of the Navy Board enclosed by you to the Committee in your 
letter of the 29th! Deer. Upon an examination of the au- 
thorities referred to for their clerks, draftsman and messen- 
ger it was found that the manuscript estimate was sustained, 
as will appear by references in the reports accompanying the 
Bill, to which I beg leave respectfully to call your attention. 
This last estimate coming from the Navy Board, & having 
passed through your hands on its way to the Committee, & 
seeming to be sustained by law, all doubt was removed as to 
which of the two estimates the Committee ought to take — 
They accordingly reported in favor of the amount stated 
in the Bill. 

Very Respectfully 

Yr. Ob't. Servt. 

Millard Fillmore 

Chairman &c 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secretary of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

navy department estimates. 

Committee Room 

February 11, 1842. 

Sir: Your letter of the loth instant was this morning laid 
before the Committee of Ways and Means. I beg leave to 
inform you that the Committee decline recommending the 
increase you desire in the contingent fund of your office. 
Since the adjournment of the Committee on a further ex- 
amination of the laws on the subject of clerks in the office 
of the Commissioners of the Navy Board, I find, that the 
law of March 3. 181 5 (4 L. U. S. p 838) referred to, in the 
copy of the letter from the Navy Board which you trans- 
mitted to the Committee under the date of 29th Deer., as 


the authority under which they had two clerks employed at 
a salary of St. coo each per annum, was repealed by the act 
of 20th April 18) S (6 L. U. S. p 320 Sec. 9). This fact I 
shall communicate to the committee at its next meeting, and 
I presume the reduction you recommend in the amount for 
this office will then be made. 

Very Respectfully 

Yr. Obt. Servt 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon A. P. Upshur, 

Secy of the Navy 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 


Co m m ittee Room 
February 14, 1842. 

Sir: I beg leave to inform you that the Committee of 
Ways and Means have this morning agreed to recommend a 
reduction of $2,000 in the amounts reported in the. Civil and 
Diplomatic bill for the compensation of clerks &c in the 
office of the Commissioners of the Navy Board, in pursuance 
of your recommendation, and in consequence 'of the act of 
20 April 1818 having repealed the act March 3, 1815 under 
which the Commissioners estimated for the two clerks in 
their office 

Very Respectfully 

Yr. Obt. Servt. 

Millard Fillmore 

Chairman &c. 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secretary of the Navy 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 



Copy of a resolution adopted by the House of Representatives 
January 6th, 1842: 

Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and Means be instructed 
to inquire into the expediency of reporting a bill authorizing appro- 
priations for such necessary objects as have been usually included in 
the general appropriation bills, and which are without authority of 

Committee Room of Ways & Means 

February 16, 1842. 
Sir : The Committee of Ways and Means desire to obtain 
every possible information connected with the objects of the 
above resolution. You are requested to furnish such as may 
explain the situation of the Officers employed by the Navy 
Department who are not clearly provided for by law. Please 
to state the numbers and names of the persons who come 
within this description — their duties and salaries, and the 
periods during which they have held their places respect- 
ively: also the necessity or value of their services, and any 
other circumstances which you may deem material or useful. 
I have the honor to be &c. 

Millard Fillmore 

Hon A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

recommending an appointment. 

House of Rep. Feby. 17, 1842. 

Sir: Mr. McClary, one of the old clerks in the Treasury 
Department, with whom I have had much pleasant official 
intercourse, is anxious that his son Edwin J. McClary 
should receive the appointment of cadet at West point, and 
he has got an impression that my recommendation would 
aid him in accomplishing this object, and it is all in vain that 


I tell him that I have no influence with this administration, 
he professes not to believe, me. T was therefore compelled 
to satisfy so confiding- a friend, to write you recommending 
his son for that place. 

1 have no acquaintance with the young man, but his 
father speaks highly of his talents and morals and if he 
stands any chance, his qualifications may be easily ascer- 
tained. It would give me great pleasure if this request could 
be granted. 

Respect fully Yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. J. C. Spencer. 

MSS., Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison. 

devising means of revenue. 

Committee Rooms of Ways and Means 
February 26, 1842. 

Sir: I am instructed by the Committee of Ways and 
Means to request you to communicate to them any plan 
which you may have for raising the necessary amount of 
revenue for defraying the expenses of Government by an 
increase of duties on importations, or by auction duties on 
goods imported, or otherwise; also, any plan or view which 
you may have on the subject of home valuation, cash duties, 
a warehousing system, or any other matters incidentally con- 
nected with these subjects, and especially any information 
which can be afforded by your Department as [to] the par- 
ticular article imported which will best bear an increase of 
duty, and the amount of such increase. 

As the committee are now ready to take this subject under 
consideration, they would be happy to receive your views at 
as early a day as possible. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore, 
Hon. Walter Forward. Chairman. 

[Secretary of the Treasury.] 


I tell him that I have no influence with this administration, 
he professes not to believe me. T was therefore compelled 
to satisfy so confiding- a friend, to write you recommending 
his son for that place. 

I have no acquaintance with the young - man, but his 
father speaks highly of his talents and morals and if he 
stands any chance, his qualifications may be easily ascer- 
tained. It would give me great pleasure if this request could 
be granted. 

Respectfully Yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. J. C. Spencer. 

MSS., Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison. 

devising means of revenue. 

Committee Rooms of Ways and Means 
February 26, 1842. 

Sir: I am instructed by the Committee of Ways and 
Means to request you to communicate to them any plan 
which you may have, for raising the necessary amount of 
revenue for defraying the expenses of Government by an 
increase of duties on importations, or by auction duties on 
goods imported, or otherwise; also, any plan or view which 
you may have on the subject of home valuation, cash duties, 
a warehousing system, or any other matters incidentally con- 
nected with these subjects, and especially any information 
which can be afforded by your Department as [to] the par- 
ticular article imported which will best bear an increase of 
duty, and the amount of such increase. 

As the committee are now ready to take this subject under 
consideration, they would be happy to receive your views at 
as early a day as possible. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore, 
Hon. Walter Forward. Chairman. 

[Secretary of the Treasury.] 


to thi: secretary of the navy. 

Comtee Ways & Means 
March 9, 1842. 

Sir: On examining a statement, accompanying the an- 
nual estimates of appropriations, which shews the balances 
on hand of former appropriations on the 31st of December 
1841, it appears that there was unexpended of the contingent 
expenses of the Southwest executive building §3000. Will 
you please to inform me whether the $3,350 asked for this 
year is in addition to the amount stated above. 

Yrs &c. 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 


An outgrowth of the border troubles of i837-'3S was a 
demand on the part of the residents of Buffalo, Erie, and 
other lake ports, for an armed vessel on the lakes. Buffalo's 
interests in the matter were confided to her representative at 
Washington. In 1842 Mr. Fillmore personally urged before 
the Navy Board that an iron vessel for the lakes be built at 
Buffalo. The Hon. L. Warrington, President of the Board 
of Navy Commissioners, addressed to Mr. Fillmore a letter, 
setting forth the usage of the Department upon the subject 
of contracts, and added that the commissioners had been 
inclined to favor Erie rather than Buffalo as the place where 
an armed vessel might best be built. Mr. Fillmore for- 
warded this letter to the editor of the Buffalo Commercial, 
with the following: 


Washington, March 17, 1842. 

Dear Sir: I have just received the enclosed communica- 
tion from the President of the Navy Board in answer to 
various communications, written and verbal, which I have 
made to the Board in reference to the place of building the 
war steamer for the Lakes and establishing a naval depot or 
navy yard ; and also in answer to numerous applications for 
constructing said boat or some parts of it. Knowing that 
many of our citizens take a deep interest in this question, I 
will thank you to publish the same. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

To Editor Buffalo Commercial Advertiser and Journal. 

The final outcome of this effort, as is well known, was 
the construction of the man-of-war Michigan, 

looking into navy estimates. 

Comtee Room, Ways and Means 
April 12, 1842. 

Sir: The Committee of Ways and Means have this 
morning directed me to request you to inform them why 
your estimates "for the improvement and necessary repairs 
of Navy Yards" and "for the hospital buildings and their 
dependencies" for tins year, are so much larger than your 
estimates for the same objects was last year, and whether 
in your opinion any injury would result to the service if the 
amount for each of the items included under those heads 
should be reduced. 

I am also directed to call your attention to the note at 
page 377 of Ho. Doc. No 2 of the present session and to ask 
you to state the amount of the "increase arising from the 
provision made for a home squadron" and the items of 
which it consists. Also what "change" was made "in the 


force to be employed" and the amt of the expense conse- 
quent thereon; and what "increase of force on some of the 
foreign stations" was made and the cost of such change. 
The information, it is desired, should be as much in detail 
as will not render it too voluminous. 

Respectfully yours, 


Chairman &c. 

Commodore Lewis Warrington 

Pre st. Navy Board 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

ordnance for lake service. 

Comtee Room of Ways & Means 
April 22, 1842. 

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
yours of the 15th inst. through Mr. Wise, recommending 
an appropriation of $59,097 for ordnance for the Lake Ser- 
vice. Perceiving that the estimate is for one hundred gams, 
I take it for granted that they are not all intended for the 
Steam Frigate now building for that service, but that some 
must be intended either to arm in case of emergency the 
Steam Boats and merchant vessels on the Lakes, or for 
other vessels hereafter to be constructed by the government. 
I will thank you to inform me whether my conjecture is 
right, and if so, whether you can furnish any information 
as to the fact whether the merchant vessels and Steam Boats 
are sufficiently strong to bear this armament. 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 



House of Rep. April 27, 1842. 

Sir: I am applied to by a constituent to know whether a 
Naval Depot is to be established at Buffalo, and if so whether 
a Naval Storekeeper will be appointed for that place. 

I know not what the rules of your department may be as 
to communicating information of this kind, but if it conflicts 
with no rule and is not deemed improper I would thank you 
for the desired information. 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upsher [sic] 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

Endorsed: "A naval depot at Buffalo is not authorized at this time, nor is 
it in the power of the Dept. to say when it will be necessary. An increase of 
war vessels on the lake will make something of that sort indispensable, but 
until that shall be authorized, no depot will be necessary & of course, no store 
keeper will be required. — Ansd 28 Apl 1842." 

asks for navy yard hospital data. 

Comtee Room of Ways & Means 
April 29, 1842. 

Sir : The Committee of Ways and Means have had under 
consideration this morning the ''estimate of the sums that 
will be required during the year 1842 for the repairs and 
improvements of the hospitals at the several navy yards" 
and have directed me to request you to furnish them with a 
detailed statement in reference to each hospital. 

Very Respectfully 
Yrs &c 
Millard Fillmore 

Chairman &c 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 



Iii the spring of 1842, tariff revision being- the paramount 
question, numerous conventions were held in several coun- 
ties of New York State; among others, a notable one in 
Dutchess county. The Whig Corresponding Committee of 
that county addressed letters to several prominent members 
of the party, requesting them to attend and address the 
people. Mr. Fillmore's reply to this invitation was as 
follows : 

Washington, May 10, 1842. 

Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your flattering invitation of the 7th inst, to attend 
a mass meeting of the citizens of the county of Dutchess on 
the 19th inst. in favor of the protective system, and to ad- 
dress the meeting. Though I am not much in the habit of 
addressing popular assemblies, yet I can assure you that 
nothing could give me greater pleasure than to meet my 
fellow citizens in old Dutchess on such an occasion. The 
movement itself is evidence that the enlightened freemen of 
your county understand their true interests. From a false 
theory, wholly inapplicable to our situation, we have been 
preaching and practicing free trade, while all the Powers of 
Europe have excluded our great staples from their markets. 
They have thrown upon us their surplus manufactures to the 
ruin of our own ; and refusing our products in exchange, 
have drawn from us the metallic basis of our currency, 
crippled our banks, paralyzed our industry, and bankrupted 
our most enterprising manufacturers and merchants. Sad 
experience is fast teaching us the folly of granting favors 
to foreign nations which they are unwilling to reciprocate. 

The maladministration of the Government for many 
years has brought our treasury to a state of bankruptcy. 
Increased duties on imports are indispensable to meet the 
necessary expenses of the Government and provide for the 
payment of the debt thus contracted. If these duties are 


judiciously laid, with a just discrimination in favor of 
American industry, you will at once supply the wants of the 
treasury, and give a stimulus to home industry that will in 
one year be felt throughout the Union. Protective industry 
is the wealth of the nation. Foster that and you are pros- 
perous and happy. Agriculture, manufactures and com- 
merce are mutually dependent upon each other. When one 
languishes they all suffer. Let, therefore, the protecting 
shield of the National Government defend them from the 
assaults of the selfish restrictive policy of Europe, and we 
shall indeed be independent in fact as we are in name. 

I cannot express how much I am gratified to see the 
people awake to the all-absorbing subject. It is one that 
interests every laborer — every man that produces — every 
one who feels a patriotic throb for the welfare of his be- 
loved country. And I duly appreciate how highly I am 
honored by being requested to be present and participate in 
your proceedings. But I regret to say that my official duties 
here are so imperative and unremitted, that I am forced to 
deny myself that pleasure. 

Please excuse this hasty note, and believe me truly and 

Your devoted fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, June 3, 1842; and in other papers. 

information called for. 

Comtee Room of Ways & Means 
May 13, 1842 

Sir: The Committee of Ways and Means desire to be 
informed which of the items of the estimates for naval hos- 
pitals, if any, are for new works; and also as to the neces- 
sity for them at this time. Will you please to furnish the 
information to-day if practicable, as it is the wish of the 


Committee to pass upon it without delay, as the Bill is now 
under consideration by the House. 

Very Respectfully 

Yr. Obt. Servt:. 

Millard Fillmore 

Chairman &c. 

Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

survey of the nantucket shoals. 

Comtee Room of Ways & Means, 
May 17, 1842. 

Sir: Your letter of the 14th inst, on the subject of an 
appropriation to defray the expense incurred for the survey 
of Nantucket Shoals, was this morning laid before the Com- 
mittee, who have directed me to request you to inform them 
whether the survey was directed by your predecessor on 
application to him or the Navy Board, or was ordered with- 
out such application. If made at the solicitation or request 
of others the Committee desire to see all the letters or papers 
received by the Department in relation to it. If the order 
for the survey was the voluntary act of the then Secretary, 
the Committee will be glad to be informed whether or not 
any authority exists for the exercise of such power, and a 
cop}' of the order. 

Very Respectfully 
Yr. Obt. Servt. 

Millard Fillmore 

Chairman &c. 

Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 


navy department appropriations. 

Comtee Room of Ways & Means 
June 21, 1842. 

Sir: In a communication made to the Chairman of the 
Committee of Finance of the Senate it is stated, that the 
amount of the liabilities under the head "for the increase, 
repair &c. of the Navy" was on the 1st of October last 
$1,300,000. Will you please state whether it will be neces- 
sary to make provision for the whole of that amount during 
the year 1842, and if not what proportion of it can be post- 

Very Respectfully yrs &c 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

pay of navy pensioners. 

Comtee Room of Ways & Means 
June 24, 1842. 

Sir: In reply to your letter of yesterday on the subject 
of an appropriation to pay the Navy Pensioners, I beg leave 
to inform you that a bill for that purpose was reported to 
the Ho. of Reps, on the 30th of April and was passed by 
that body on the 6th of June and sent to the Senate. When 
it returns to the House I will not fail to attend to it. 
Very Respectfully yrs &c. 

Millard Fillmore 

Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


In July, 1842, Mr. Fillmore addressed the following letter 
to his constituents : 

Washington, July iS, 1842. 

Fellow-Citizens: Having long since determined not to 
be a candidate for reelection, I have felt that my duty to you 
required that I should give you seasonahle notice of that 
determination. The chief causes which have brought me to 
this resolution, being mostly of a personal character, are un- 
important, and would be uninteresting to you or the public. 
It is sufficient to say, that I am not prompted to this course 
by anything in the present aspect of political affairs. Many 
of you know that I desired to withdraw before the last con- 
giessional election, but owing to the importance of that con- 
test, the desire for unanimity, and the hope that if the ad- 
ministration were changed, I migfht render some essential 


mentioned for vice-president in 1842. 

Washington, June 28, 1842. 

Dear Weed: I have just received the two enclosed slips 
from the Poughkeepsie Eagle in which I am very unex- 
pectedly named for the Vice Presidency. 

You may publish or return them as you think best, — and 
be assured that neither my friendship will be affected nor 
my vanity wounded by a return, — for I regard them only as 
a passing compliment from an unknown hand. 

Capt. Tyler in his recent unnecessary and fool-hardy veto 
has cut the last link that bound him to the Whigs and has 
gone over soul and body to the Locos; but I do not yet 
despair of a tariff. 

In haste, 

[To Thurlow Weed] 

j^va, x nugui *v.w^w ^ v .~x — ~ 


local service to my district and those generous friends who 
had so nobly sustained our cause, I was induced to stand 
another canvass. But how sadly have all been disappointed! 
How has that sun which rose in such joyous brightness to 
millions been shrouded in gloom and sorrow ! The lamented 
Harrison, around whom clustered a nation's prayers and 
blessings, is now no more. For reasons inscrutable to us, 
and known only to an all-wise Providence, he was cut down 
in a moment of triumph, and in his grave lie buried the long 
cherished hopes of a suffering nation. 

The veneration which every true patriot must feel for 
the high office that has been filled by a Washington and a 
Madison, forbids that I should speak harshly of the present 
incumbent. Yet it is deeply to be deplored that Mr. Tyler 
seems to labor under a menial hallucination — as unfounded 
in fact as it is mischievous in its consequences — that the 
great majority of the Whigs in Congress are seeking: to Cir- 
cumvent him. It may be difficult to trace the origin of this 
mental malady without a previous knowledge of the consti- 
tution of the patient. But I doubt not, if its source could be 
ascertained, it would be found in that curse of all govern- 
ments, the artful and unprincipled courtier, v/ho insidiously 
worms his way into the affections and confidence of patron- 
age and power, for no other purpose but to wield it to sub- 
serve his own selfish ambition or gratify his personal and 
vindictive feelings. I do not believe that the acts of the 
present Chief Magistrate, which have overwhelmed his 
former friends with shame and sorrow, and tilled them with 
indignation, have resulted from the unaided promptings of 
his own heart, or received the approbation of his responsible, 
advisers: but in my opinion if you could see the fawning 
parasites that hang around him to flatter his vanity, and the 
"honest Iagos" that distil the malicious poison of jealousy 
into his unsuspecting ear, for their own base purposes, ail 
would be explained. The world would then see that a breach 
has been made between the President and his former friends, 
and that the country has been brought to the brink of ruin to 


minister to the malignant spleen of some disappointed a pi- 
rant to political fame or to gratify the unholy ambition of a 
few who have nothing to hope but in a state of anarchy and 
confusion. — These creatures have practised upon their un- 
suspecting victim until he sees in every friend a foe, and in 
every necessary act of legislation an attempt ''to head him." 
He has been thus driven on from folly to madness, from 
secret jealousy to open betrayal, and at last in a fit of insane 
hostility to his former friends, who elevated him to power, 
and in the desperate but vain hope of securing a re-election, 
he has been induced to throw himself into the treacherous 
arms of his former enemies. What may be the result of this 
new coalition, time alone can determine. I fear it had its 
origin in weakness, wickedness and perfidy, and that its con- 
summation will produce the bitter fruits of disappointment 
to those who now glory in their shame. 

Thus you see the origin, progress and consummation of 
all our difficulties. We have struggled hard under every dis- 
couragement to carry out the true Whig principles of 1840, 
and give relief to the country. Our progress has been op- 
posed and our efforts thwarted at every step by the peculiar 
friends of the Executive on the floor of Congress. The 
press under his control has poured out its malicious libels 
upon our devoted heads until every patriot is sick at heart ; 
and when all these have been braved and overcome, then the 
veto at a single blow strikes to the ground our labors, and 
the revenues and credit of the nation. But I am unwilling 
to dwell upon a subject so painful and humiliating. I speak 
of it now "more in sorrow than in anger"; and cannot but 
regard it as an awful warning to select no man, even for a 
contingent station of such vast power and responsibility 
whose talents and integrity are not equal to it: and I regard 
it as an additional proof that our only security against 
treachery and inordinate ambition is found in the one-term 
principle, that takes away all inducement in the Executive 
to use his power to secure a re-election. Still I would not 
despair but hope for the best. Our Constitution contem- 


plated the possibility of such an infliction and therefore has 
wisely provided against its duration by limiting the Presi- 
dential term to four years. It is true that much evil may he 
done in that time, but there is consolation in the thought that 
we can say to the desolating' flood of tyrannical usurpation 
and folly that sweeps over the land, "thus far shalt thou go 
and no farther." 

My time will not permit me to touch upon the general 
subjects of legislation or policy, or even to hint at the threat- 
ening aspect of political events. A devoted and patriotic 
majority in Congress has struggled hard against every em- 
barrassment for more than seven months. A tariff bill has 
just passed the House that would at once restore credit to 
the Government and bring relief to the community, but the 
prospect now is that ail our anxious toils are to end in 
naught, unless we submit to the will of a single dictator and 
consent to record his edicts. Whatever sacrifice a suffering 
country may demand, patriotism requires us to make — 
everything may be yielded but principle to an honest differ- 
ence of opinion, but nothing to a tyrannical exaction, and I 
trust we shall not be driven to the dangerous extremity of 
yielding all power to the caprice of one man, or of bringing 
utter bankruptcy and ruin upon our common country. It is 
a dreadful alternative, but if presented I also trust that the 
Constitution will be maintained at every hazard, regardless 
of all consequences. 

But, fellow-citizens, I have said more than I intended, 
and regret that I have not time to say it more briefly. I can 
not, however, consent to bring this hasty letter to a close 
without expressing the deep emotions of gratitude that fill 
my heart when I look back upon your kindness and devo- 
tion. Pardon the personal vanity, though it be a weakness, 
that induces me to recur for a moment to the cherished 
recollections of your early friendship and abiding confidence. 
I can not give vent to the feelings of my heart without it. 

It is now nearly fourteen years since you did me the un- 
solicited honor to nominate me to represent you in the State 


Legislature. Seven times have I received renewed evidence 
of your confidence by as many elections, with constantly in- 
creasing majorities; and at the expiration of my pn nl 
congressional term, I shall have served you three years in 
the Staie and eight years in the National councils. I can not 
call to mind the thousand acts of generous devotion from so 
many friends who will ever be dear to my heart, without 
feeling the deepest emotion of gratitude. I came among you 
a poor and friendless boy. You kindly took me by the hand 
and gave me your confidence and support. You have con- 
ferred upon me distinction and honor, for which I could 
make no adequate return but by an honest and untiring 
effort faithfully to discharge the high trusts which you have 
confided to my keeping. If my humble efforts have met 
your approbation, I freely admit that next to the approval 
of my own conscience it is the highest reward which I could 
conceive for days of unceasing toil and nights of sleepless 

I profess not to be above or below the common frailties 
of our nature. I will therefore not disguise the fact that T 
was highly gratified at my first election to Congress, yet I 
can truly say that my utmost ambition has been satisfied. I 
aspire to nothing more, and shall retire from the exciting 
scenes of political strife to the quiet enjoyments of my own 
family and fireside with still more satisfaction than I felt 
when first elevated to this distinguished station. 

In conclusion permit me again to return you my warmest 
thanks for your kindness, which is deeply engraven upon 
my heart. 

I remain sincerely and truly, your friend and fellow- 

Millard Fillmore. 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, July 22, 1842; and in other papers. 


release from naval service. 

House of Rep. 

July 25, 1842. 
Sir: I have just received the enclosed application frqm 
Lyman A. Spaulding Esq. of Lockport, N. York on behalf 
of Mr. Roberts for the release of his son who enlisted in 
the Navy. Mr. Spaulding is a most respectable and intelli- 
gent gentleman whose statements are entitled to full credit. 
If the application be not granted please return the letters 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of Navy 

Navy Dept. ini^c. letter.?. 

Endorsed: "Com. Nicolson was directed on the 15th inst. to discharge him 
upon settlement of his accts. [and in a different hand:] Mr. Fillmore so in- 
formed July 27, 1S42." 


House of Representatives, Aug. 2, 1842. 

Sir: I have perused your note which you handed me a 
few moments since, and cheerfully and frankly reciprocate 
all the kind feeling which it contains. 

You are right in your supposition that I intended no at- 
tack upon your character or feelings in my letter to my con- 
stituents, to which you refer. My language in the passage. 
to which you refer was, as you justly remark, general, and 
was intended to apply to no one individual. The letter was 
published in the Intelligencer without my knowledge or re- 
quest, and by what accident or design it was connected with 
yours I am unable to say. I apprehend, however, that no 
just inference can be drawn from such a circumstance. 

I did intend to allude to you, among other friends of the 
Executive on the floor of Congress, as opposing our progress 
in the business of the session. But certainly I said no more 
there than I had said more than once on the floor of the 


House, and never with the intent of charging any dishonor- 
able motive. Yours was an open opposition — which, how- 
ever I might regret it, you certainly had a right to make, 
and which I spoke of as a fact well known to the public. I 
certainly, however, did not allude to it from any unkind 
feeling to you, and therefore shall not now attempt to refer 
to the facts which 1 supposed justified the remark. 

Trusting that this explanation may prove satisfactory, I 
have the honor to remain, respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Hon. H. A. Wise. 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser. Aug. 9, 1842. 


Buffalo, N. Y., Oct. 17, 1842. 

Sir: I have the honor to enclose you some affidavits for 
the purpose of procuring the discharge of a boy by the name 
of Charles Henry Waters who w 7 as enlisted here .as an ap- 
prentice in the Navy last Summer and is now reported to be 
on board the North Carilona [sic] in N. York harbor. 

I think the facts stated in the affidavits may be relied 
upon as true, and I suppose it is one of those cases where a 
discharge will be granted as a matter of course. 

The grandmother, Mrs. Foster, who feels a parental 
fondness and tenderness for the child desires that you will 
notify me of the discharge, and retain him on board the 
vessel until they can send by some suitable person to bring 
him home. 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upsiier [sic] 

Secy, of Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

Affidavits enclosed and Fillmore's letter endorsed: "Discharge him; in- 
form Mr. Fillmore of it, and say also that I have no authority to direct him to 
be retained after discharging him. Done 22d Octr." 



In November, 1842, Mr. Fillmore received a letter from 
W. H. Bostwick, at Lancaster, N. Y., in which the writer 
said: "At a recent meeting - of the Liberty party at this 
place, the Rev. Abel Brown, who is now on a tour through 
this county, stated that at the last session of Congress, on 
the 5th day of March, a law was passed declaring that all the 
free people of color in the Territory of Florida, who should 
not leave the territory by the 1st day of October, 1842, 
should be sold into slavery for the term of ninety-nine years ; 
that said law passed the House without opposition, and the 
moment it was presented and read in the Senate, the Hon. 
N. P. Tallmadge, of this State, moved the previous question, 
and prevented all debate, for fear that the discussion might 
alarm the North." The credulous correspondent naturally 
thought it "a matter of vast importance," and begged Mr. 
Fillmore for the truth. Mr. Fillmore replied: 

Buffalo, Nov. 5, 1842. 

Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt 
of your letter of yesterday, giving a statement made by the 
Rev. Abel Brown, at one of his abolition lectures in this 
county in regard to a law which he said was passed by Con- 
gress at the last session, authorizing the sale of free blacks 
in Florida as slaves. 

Had you not heard the statement of Mr. Brown yourself, 
and did I not place entire confidence in what you say, I could 
not be made to believe that any man of ordinary intelligence 
or honesty could be found either so ignorant or so debased as 
to utter such a falsehood. I still hope and trust, that for the 
honor of Mr. Brown, there is some mistake in this matter — 
and I beg leave in reply to your inquiry to state that no 
such law passed Congress at the last session and I never 
heard such a proposition from any source. I have all the 


acts of the last session now lying before me. No law what- 
ever was passed or approved on the 5th of March. — There 
is no such thing as the previous question in the Senate, and 
therefore what is said of Mr. Tallmadge must be. an entire 
mistake. I have never known the previous question called 
in the Senate since I have been a member of Congress and 
presume it has not been. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
\Y. H. Bostwick, Esq. 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Nov. 7, 1842. 


Buffalo, Nov. 9.. 1842. 

Sir : At the request of the parents of George L. Staujield, 
an apprentice in the Navy enlisted in this city last summer 
and now on board the Ohio in Boston Harbor, I enclose their 
affidavits on which they wish to found an application for his 
discharge. I have no acquaintance with Mr. & Mrs. Stan- 
field but understand they are poor people and quite ignorant, 
all which is very apparent on looking at them and they are 
evidently in great distress at the situation of their son, and 
if consistent I hope he may be discharged. 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upsher [sic] 

Navy Dent, rhisc. letters. 

Affidavits are enclosed and letter is endorsed: "Discharge him" — "done 
Nov. 22." 

specific information called for. 

Comtee Room of Ways and Means. 
Deer. 19, 1842. 

Sir: The Committee of Ways & Means having deter- 
mined to reduce the appropriations asked for the contingent 


expenses of the Departments for the fiscal year to specific 
objects as far as practicable, I beg leave to request you to 
furnish the Committee with a statement showing under what 
heads the contingent funds estimated for your office and 
each of the bureaus of your Department, can be classed, 
and the sum necessary to be appropriated for each head. 

Very Respectfully 
Yrs &c. &c. 
Millard Fillmore 

Chair m &c. 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of the Navy 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 


House of Rep. Jany. 27, 1843. 

Sir : I have the honor to enclose you a letter from Mrs. 
Lucy Ann Faxson [sic] of Buffalo, soliciting the discharge 
of her two sons, Henry, and Leonard Faxon who were en- 
listed as apprentices in the Navy and are now on board the 

Mrs. Faxon is a very intelligent and respectable lady, and 
her letter speaks more eloquently the sufferings and anxiety 
of a mother in this matter than anything which I can say, 
which I hope you will take the time to read, and then if it be 
possible to grant her request, I can not for a moment doubt 
you will do it. 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. A. P. Upshur 

Secy of Navy. 

Navy Dept. misc. letters. 

With enclosure as stated. The signature of the petitioner is Faxon, not 



In June, 1843, Mi\ Fillmore visited members of his family 
in Michigan. Learning of his presence near Ann Arbor, a 
committee of citizens of that town addressed to him a formal 
invitation to be their guest at a public dinner. This was, in 
a way, a striking recognition of his services to the country at 
large, in promoting the passage of the tariff bill of 1842. To 
this invitation, Mr, Fillmore replied as follows: 

Dexter [Mich.], June 21, 1843. 

Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter of yesterday, inviting me to visit your 
town and to meet your citizens at a public dinner, at such 
time as might suit my convenience. 

Embarrassed as 1 am by this unexpected manifestation 
of your kindness and approbation, I have scarcely time or 
language to express the grateful emotions which J feel. 

I cannot for a moment consent to appropriate to myself 
your flattering remarks in favor of the conduct of the late 
Congress — my services were quite too humble and insig- 
nificant in that honorable body. The merit of those acts 
belongs to the great body of Whigs who composed the ma- 
jority of that assembly. It was their self-sacrificing devo- 
tion amid the difficulties and embarrassments that few can 
appreciate, which supplied the means of an exhausted treas- 
ury, and saved the country from disgrace and bankruptcy. 
It was the same ardent devotion to the welfare of the 
country, which sustained them, though baffled and defeated, 
until they established by a judicious tariff, permanent reve- 
nues for the support of the Government, and a lasting foun- 
dation for the prosperous industry and commercial inde- 
pendence of the country. Your approbation is justly due 
to that able and devoted body, and the time will come when 
an enlightened and intelligent community will delight to 
bestow it. But I have only time now to allude to it, and 
to disclaim for myself, what is so justly due to others, and 


what would be arrogance in me, even by implication or 
silence, to appropriate to myself. 

Nothing could be more grateful to my feelings than the 
time and occasion that have called forth this testimony of 
your approbation. Had my visit among you, been of a 
political character — or were I a candidate for any official 
station or even now in office, I might have suspected that 
some local or political object was sought to be promoted, 
but no suspicion of this kind alloys the pleasure which I 
take in expressing to you the deep sensibility with which 
I have received this generous testimony of your kind regard. 
Were it possible to comply with your request, I should 
anticipate additional pleasure, from the fact that I perceive 
among the names of those who have thus honored me, not 
only the worth and respectability of your beautiful and 
flourishing town, but the names of some who are dear to 
me as the cherished friends of my early youth. Could any- 
thing tempt me for a moment to delay my journey, such a 
banquet, with such friends, amidst "the feast of reason and 
flow of soul" would most certainly do it ; but I regret to 
say, that I am hastening to visit a beloved sister 1 who I fear 
is languishing upon a bed of death, and I trust this will be 
deemed a sufficient reason for my declining your flattering 

Please accept the assurance of my highest respect and 
esteem, and believe me most sincerely and truly, your friend 
and fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Messrs. Dwigi-it Kellogg, M. Eacker, and others, citizens 
of Ann Arbor. 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, July 5, 1843. 

1. Mr. Fillmore's sister Maria P., youngest daughter of Nathaniel F., 
died st Adrian, Mich., July 2, 1843, aged 23 years. 



Buffalo, December 29, 1843. 

My dear Sir: The German emigration to this country 
for some years past has scattered along the great thorough- 
fare from New York to Cincinnati an extensive and in- 
creasing population of that most industrious and intelligent 
class of people. They are fast acquiring the rights of suf- 
frage by naturalization & must soon exercise a controlling 
influence in our elections in many of our towns, villages, 
and cities. Yet it is believed that no adequate effort has 
been made to disseminate among them correct political in- 
formation. It is said that there is no German Whig paper 
between the cities of New York and Cincinnati, although 
there are a number of German papers of opposite politics. 
Considering the importance of the approaching elections 
and that a few votes may change the Presidential vote in 
either of the Great States of New York Pennsylvania and 
Ohio, we have thought it worthy of an effort to establish 
and maintain a German Whig paper at this place. This 
city presents a good point for collecting and distributing 
political information not only along the thorough fare from 
New York to Cincinnati but from this place to Chicago 
and St. Louis. 

We believe we have succeeded in securing the services 
of a most capable and intelligent German Editor who has 
published a neutral paper in this city for the year past, who 
is heart and soul with us in the Whig cause & proposes 
hereafter to devote his best energies to the editing of a 
Whig paper. But with all these advantages the paper can- 
not be sustained & conducted in a beneficial manner without 
aid from our friends abroad. Our friends here have cheer- 
fully constituted a sufficient fund to enable them to dis- 
tribute gratuitously about one hundred papers in this county 
for the year. The money raised for this purpose is by us 
as a committee placed in the Bank & the price of the paper 


weekly paid to the publisher, prompt payment being in- 
dispensable to enable him to go on with the paper. 

The object of this communication is to request our 
friends at your place, to raise the means of taking a hun- 
dred copies or more or less as they shall deem beneficial 
to the cause. You can transmit the money for a quarter 
or for a longer period, to us and we will apply it weekly to 
the purchase of the paper as we do our own, so that should 
there be a failure in the publication, the portion of the 
money not applied will be returned. 

We deem this a matter of the first importance not only 
to our own success at the coming election, but also to the 
dissemination of correct principles among that large class 
of our fellow citizens, thereby producing a lasting benefit 
to the country. They are generally industrious & intelli- 
gent, capable of reading & writing- in their own language 
and eager in the pursuit of political knowledge 8z it is of 
great importance both to them and us that the first impres- 
sions which they receive of our institutions be from a proper 

That you may appreciate the tone and character of the 
[paper] we send you the first number by this day's mail, 
in which the leading editorial, is at our request published 
both in German and English. 

Whatever is done in this matter ought to be done quickly. 
This is the season in which the labouring population read. 
We therefore hope to hear from you speedily, and knowing 
and appreciating the zeal and energy from our friends at 
your place we can not doubt that you will promptly come 
to our aid in this work. 

You will observe that the price of the paper is two dol- 
lars per annum, the lowest price at which it can be furnished 
with the circulation we can hope to obtain. We shall direct 
five hundred extra of each number to be printed in hopes 
that our friends abroad will send for them giving us the 
address to which thev shall be forwarded. 


Hoping for an early and favorable reply, we arc very re- 

Your obdt Servts 

Millard Fillmore 
Noah P. S frag up: 
Set h C. Haw ley, 

To Thurlow Weed, Esq. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

The paper which Mr. Fillmore and others endeavored to establish as a 
Whig organ was the Freimuthige und West New Yorker Anzcigcr. In 1840 
W. A. Mej-er had started a German campaign paper called the Volksfreund, 
in the Whig interest, but discontinued it after the election. "The type and 
all the other mnterial of the newspaper was bought by the Whig party and kept 
as their property until rebought by Mr. Meyer in the summer of 1842." 
("Geschichte der Deutschen in Buffalo . . . ," Reinecke & Zesch, 1S98, p. 70.) 
The editor of whom Mr. Fillmore writes appears to have been Alexander L. 
Krause, who with Mr. Meyer carried on the Freimv.thige from Jan. 1, 1843, 
until May. 1845, when it passed into the hands of Ernst Oesten, who published 
it daily as the Buffalo Tagcblatt, continuing the Freimiitftige as a weekly until 
August, when it ceased. Its successor was the weekly Telegraph, also a Whig 
paper, published by H. B. Miller and edited by Adolph Heilmann. 


Buffalo, April 8, 1844. 

Gentlemen: Your letter of the 30th ult. desiring to 
know whether I am in favor of annexing Texas to the 
United States has this moment come to hand, hut without 
the paper containing the proceedings of the meeting at Cin- 
cinati to which you allude. Without however waiting for 
that, as I am on the point of leaving home. I beg leave in 
response to your question to say, that I am decidedly, un- 
qualifiedly and uncompromisingly opposed to the annexation 
of Texas to the United States. I have not time now, nor 
do I deem it necessary, to give the reasons for this opinion. 
I however deem it due to myself to say that while I thus 
frankly express my opinion on this subject. I am decidedly 
opposed to giving pledges in advance for future political 
action. And though this is a subject upon which if any I 

Chase collection, Library of Congress. 


should not hesitate to commit myself as to my future con- 
duct, yet even in this, for the sake of the principle I would 
give no such pledge. 

I have the honor to he 

your obt servt 

Millard Fillmore 
Messrs. S. P. Chase, & Others 
Tobias Frick Bine 
Thomas Heaton 
Garxat Bai ley- 
Samuel Lewis 

declining to be a candidate for governor. 

New York, May 16, 1844. 
Thurlow Weed, Esq. 

My dear Sir: Being here in attendance upon the Su- 
preme Court, my attention has been called to an article in 
your paper [Albany Evening Journal] of the 8th hist., and 
to some extracts from other journals in yours since that 
time, in which my name is mentioned as a candidate for 
nomination to the gubernatorial office in this State. You 
do me the justice to say that "I have never desired the office 
of Governor, though I admit the right of the people to the 
services of a public man in any station they may think 
proper to assign him/' My maxim has always been that in- 
dividuals have no claim upon the public for official favors, 
but that the public has a right to the service of any and all 
of its citizens. This right of the public however, must in 
some measure be qualified by the fitness and ability of the 
person whose services may be demanded for the station 
designed, and the propriety of his accepting the trust can 
only be properly determined when all his relations, social 
and political, are taken into the account. Of the former, I 
am ready to concede that the public must be the proper and 
only judge. In regard to the latter, the individual himself 


has a right to be consulted. These notices of the public 
press are from such sources, and so flattering, as to leave 
no doubt either of the sincerity or friendship of the authors. 
And the office itself, in my estimation, is second in point of 
dignity, honor and responsibility only to that of President 
of the United States. When we reflect that it has been held 
by a Jay, a Tompkins, and a Clinton, who in the discharge 
of its various and responsible duties acquired a fame that 
has connected them with the history of our country, and 
rendered their names immortal, all must agree that its 
honors are sufficient to satisfy the most lofty ambition. For 
myself 1 can truly say that they are more than I ever 
aspired to. 

Believing, as I now do, that whoever shall receive the 
nomination of the Whig convention for that distinguished 
station, will be elected, it is not from any apprehension of 
defeat that J am disposed to decline its honors. But for 
reasons partly of a public, and partly of a private character, 
I have invariably expressed an unwillingness to become a 
candidate for that nomination. This has been long known 
to most of my intimate friends, and to few better than to 
yourself. But a sense of delicacy, which all must appreciate, 
rendered me reluctant to make a more public declaration of 
my wishes on this subject at this time. It also occurred to 
me that some individuals, acting under a mistaken sense of 
my real motives, might be led to reproach me with being 
influenced in my course in this matter by the results of the 
Baltimore convention. But when I saw from the public 
journals that many of my friends were committing them- 
selves on this subject, and reflecting that no man from any 
apprehension of subjecting himself to unmerited censure, 
had a right to shrink from the performance of any duty, I 
felt that the candor and frankness due to my political 
friend^ would not suffer me longer to permit them to re- 
main in doubt as to my wishes on this subject. 

Permit me then to say that I do not desire to be consid- 
ered as a candidate for that office. So far as my reasons for 
this determination are founded upon private considerations, 


it would be alike indelicate and obtrusive to present them to 
the public. But it' these could be removed or overcome, 
there are others of a more public character that should, it 
appears to me. be equally conclusive. 

In the first place, I greatly distrust my own ability to 
discharge the varied and complicated duties of that high 
station in a manner either creditable to myself or satisfac- 
tory to the public. For the last twelve years my attention 
has been mostly withdrawn from questions affecting State 
policy, and directed to national affairs. My chief experi- 
ence in public matters has been in the national councils, and 
to my labors there I am mainly indebted for whatever repu- 
tation I may enjoy as a public man. It appears to me that 
the present peculiarly trying emergencies in the great inter- 
ests of the State, require a man for the executive chair of 
eminent ability, long tried experience, and a greater share 
of public confidence than I can hope to possess. I can not 
but feel that many who have been mentioned are more de- 
serving of that honor, and better able to discharge those 
high trusts, than myself. I recognize in each "an elder and 
a better soldier." 

But, secondly, it is known to all that I have recently been 
a candidate for nomination to the Vice-Presidency. I had 
previously considered my political career as ended for the 
present, if not closed forever. Never at all sanguine of suc- 
cess, I yielded a reluctant assent to the presentation of my 
name for that office. Grateful as I am, and ever shall be, 
for the generous devotion of my friends, I felt no disap- 
pointment in the result, and unite, most cordially with my 
Whig brethren in sustaining the excellent nominations of 
that convention. But a candidate is now to be selected from 
the Whig party of this State for the gubernatorial office. 
Such persons must be taken from among my political asso- 
ciates, and I feel that I owe too much to them to suffer my 
name to come in competition with theirs for this distin- 
guished honor. To permit it would wear the semblance of 
ingratitude, or an over-weening ambition for political pre- 
ferment. I know that I feel neither, and I can perceive no 


reason why I should subject myself to the imputation. This 
alone, if there were no other reasons, would be to my mind 
an insuperable objection. 

But, nevertheless, while I thus decline to be considered a 
candidate of nomination, it is due to myself to express the 
grateful emotions of my heart to those friends who have so 
kindly intimated a preference for me for that office. It im- 
plies a confidence on their part which it has been the height 
of my ambition to acquire ; and I shall cherish the recollec- 
tion of it through life. Believe me, also, when I say that I 
am not insensible to the deep obligations which I am under 
to the people of this, my native State ; and more especially 
to those in the western part of it, who have sustained me 
with such generous devotion and unwavering fidelity, 
through many years of arduous public service. They could 
not call upon me for any sacrifice, merely personal to my- 
self, that I should not feel bound to make. I owe them a 
debt of gratitude which I never expect to be able to dis- 
charge. But the Whig party of this State now presents an 
array of talent and of well tried political and moral integ- 
rity not excelled by that of any other State in the Union. 
From this distinguished host it can not be difficult to select 
a suitable candidate for the office of Governor — one who 
is capable, faithful, true to the cause and the country, and 
who will call out the enthusiastic support of the whole Whig- 
party. To such a candidate I pledge in advance my most 
hearty and zealous support. Let us add his name to those of 
Clay and Frelinghuysen, and our success is certain. 

But while I thus withdraw from competition for the 
honors, be assured that I do not shrink from the labors or 
responsibilities of this great contest. W r e have a work to 
perform in this State which calls for the united effort and 
untiring exertion of every true Whig. Here the great 
battle is to be fought. For myself I am enlisted for the 
war. Wherever I can be of most service, that I am willing 
to go ; I seek no distinction but such as may be acquired by 
a faithful laborer in a good cause. I ask no reward but 
such as results to all from a good government well admin- 


istered; and I desire do higher gratification than to witness 
the well merited honors with which victory will crown my 
numerous Whig friends. I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Printed, various papers at the time. 


The Whigs of Ashtabula Co., O., had a gathering *t 
Jefferson, O., July 4, 1844. Some 8,000 were present. Mr. 
Fillmore sent the following: 

Buffalo, June 14, 1844. 

Gentlemen : I am honored by the receipt of your favor 
of the 10th inst., inviting me to attend a meeting of the 
Whigs at Jefferson, Ashtabula County, O., and regret to say 
that a previous engagement to attend a meeting in Orleans 
County in this State on the 3d of July will deprive me of 
that pleasure. 

I consider the approaching contest of more importance 
than any that has taken place since the adoption of the 
Federal Constitution. This not only settles the great issues 
of 1840 but also the question whether the power of the Gov- 
ernment shall be used to give adequate and just protection 
to the industry of our own country, against the selfish legis- 
lation and restrictions of the crowned heads of Europe. But, 
more than all, this election must settle the question whether 
Texas is to be admitted to the Union, and the foundation be 
therefore laid for the extension and perpetuity of slavery in 
this free Government, and the final and undoubted ascend- 
ancy of the slave-holding interest over the interests of free 
labor in this country in the legislative and Executive depart- 
ments of the Government, and the fearful and dangerous 
struggle that must inevitably follow such a result. I con- 
sider all these consequences, important as they are, involved 
in the approaching contest. Let us view it calmly in all its 
consequences. Let us remember that we stand here upon 
the narrow isthmus of time that separates the past from the 


future generations of this country, that our ancestors have 
bequeathed to us a free Constitution, heretofore blessing 
and binding together a united rnd happy people, with the. 
solemn injunction that we transmit all these national bless- 
ings unimpaired to the succeeding generation. Let them, 
then, look at. the awful consequences of a strife between the 
North and the South for political ascendency in the councils 
of the Nation that may commence by each seeking addi- 
tional territory, but which will probably end in civil war, 
dismemberment of the Republic, and military despotism. I 
say, let us reflect deeply and dispassionately upon all these 
consequences, and upon the glorious destinies of this nation 
if we can but remain cordially united, administer the gov- 
ernment for the benefit of the people, and then let us act as 
becomes patriots in an emergency like the present. 

I write in much haste, and the pressure of professional 
business. I have not time to say more; the importance of 
the subject would not permit me to say less. 

With sentiments of respect, I remain 

Your fellow citizen, Millard Fillmore. 

To B. F. Wade, L. Jones, C. S. Simonds, E. G. Luce and 

Sam'l Hendry, Esquires, Executive Committee of 
Ashtabula Co., Ohio. 


At the Vermont Whig State Convention, held at Bur- 
lington, June 26, 1844, the following letter was read from 
Millard Fillmore, in response to an invitation to be present : 

Buffalo, June 11, 1844. 
Gentlemen : I have this moment received your kind 
and flattering invitation to attend a meeting of the Whigs 
of Vermont at Burlington on the 26th instant, to respond to 
the nomination of Clay and Frelinghuysen, recently made 
at the Baltimore Convention, and regret that my previous 
engagements are such that it will be out of my power to 
comply with your request. But I know of no State where 


it would give me more pleasure to visit. Though I am 
myself a native of New York, yet my father was horn under 
the shadow of the Green Mountains, and his childish ears 
were saluted with the thunders of War, that proclaimed the 
deadly conflict for liberty, which" resulted in the triumph of 
General Stark at Bennington. The stirring events that fol- 
lowed the Revolution in that State are engraved on my 
memory, and their traditionary history was the romance of 
my juvenile years. But if these scenes attracted my boyish 
fancy and won my childish admiration, the steady and 
enlightened Democracy of the Whigs of that distinguished 
State has called forth the deep veneration of my mature 
years. The glorious Whigs of Vermont have never yet 
"bowed the knee to Baal." Their Democracv exhibits a 
verdure as perpetual as that of her own mountains, and a 
stability as immovable as her everlasting hills. True to 
themselves and the Union, I know they will give a most 
hearty response to the nomination of Clay and Freling- 
huysen. and that we may look with confidence to the tri- 
umphant success of the Whig ticket in that State this fall 

I would avail myself of the opportunity to say something 
of the importance of the approaching contest to the North, 
and especially to Vermont, when a candidate is presented 
by our opponents who avows himself oppose d to any Tariff 
for Protection, and in favor of the immediate Annexation 
of Texas. But the Court is in session, and I cannot com- 
mand my time, and must therefore content myself by ex- 
pressing my grateful acknowledgments for the flattering 
manner in which you were pleased to speak of my public 
services, and to assure you of my sincere respect and esteem. 

T have the lion or to be, your fellow-citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 
C. Towxsley, Esq. and others, Whig State Central Com- 
mittee of Vermont. 

Printed, Albany Evening Journal, June 28, 1844; N. Y. Tribune, July 6, 
1844; and other papers. 

A letter was received at this same convention from Governor Seward (Au- 
burn, June iz, 1844), in which occurs the following: 

"Whatever might have been the state of my engagements . . it is 

altogether out of my power to visit Vermont on the 26th instant. There is a 


town in this Senate District named West Bloomfield, which has been to this 
State what Vermont has been to the Union, that is to say, Whig always, and 
always in favor of the Supremacy of Laws, Public Order, Freedom of Con- 
science, Equality of Human Rights and the advancement of Civilization. I am 
under an engagement to visit that little but enlightened and patriotic community 
on the 26th instant. They are my neighbors, and whenever I have been in public 
life, they were among the kindest and most liberal of my constituents." 


Buffalo, June 24, 1844. 

My dear Sir : Your favor of the 226. inst. is received, 
wishing to know whether I can attend a whig meeting in 
Mayville on the 2d week in July next. It would give me 
great pleasure to do so, but I fear it is impossible. I expect 
to be compelled to attend the session of the Supreme court 
at Utica which commences July 1st and will probably con- 
tinue at least 4 weeks. But if I can. escape that, it will onlv 
be to attend our recorder's court which commences its ses- 
sion on Monday the 8th of July and will sit one and possibly 
two weeks. 

Nevertheless, I hope before the campaign closes to see 
the good whigs of Chatauque. I look to that as the banner 
county this fall, if it can beat "old Erie/'' 

In haste 


Geo. W. Patterson, Esq. 

Barcelona, Chatauque Co.. 

N. York. 

" ! 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Geo. W. Patterson. West field, N. Y. 

Court Room [Buffalo], Sept. 9, 1844. 
My dear Sir: I regret that I did not see you this 
morning but I have little or nothing to add in regard to 
myself more than I have already said. I need not repeat 
that if it is possible with honor to myself and good faith to 
the Whig cause to withdraw my name & to nominate some 
other man for governor, I sincerely hope that it will be done. 


Even if there is any essential division on the subject, I sub- 
mit to you whether that will not be a sufficient ground on 
which you may peremptorily withdraw my name. 

Nothing" but a unanimous or nearly unanimous convic- 
tion on the part of my friends in the convention that it is 
necessary for the success of our cause that I should submit 
to this sacrifice will justify me in my own opinion in ac- 
cepting a nomination. If however it comes to that, then 
there is no sacrifice that I am not prepared to make; No 
duty that can be assigned me that I am not ready to per- 
form, and no responsibility that I am not ready to take. 
But I have not time to say more. You know all my feel- 
ings — all my wishes on this subject; and I have full con- 
fidence in your fidelity and discretion. 

I have within a clay or two received some letters asking 
my opinion in regard .to other nominees on the state ticket. 
Of course I am not in a situation to advise and if I were I 
should deem it improper, especially as between political 
friends who are candidates for the same office. But without 
any reference to individuals, I may be permitted to say that 
I hope that in selecting the canal commissioner that shall 
represent the interest of the Southern counties of the State, 
our delegation from this county will take such a course as 
to show that they are not unfriendly to the interests of our 
Southern friends in the great works of internal improve- 
ment. I am in haste and amid confusion 

Truly yours Millard Fillmore 

Hon. W. A. Moseley, M. C. 

[Syracuse, N. Y.] 

Original MS. owned by Miss Anna L. Riley, East Aurora, N. Y. 


Buffalo, Sept 16, 1844. 

Dear Weed: So I am "in for it" and there is no escape. 

Though I had no desire for the office and still less for the 

nomination, yet being nominated I am not anxious to be 

defeated. I have just ree'd the Journal containing the an- 



Buffalo, Sept. 20, 1844. 

Gentlemen : I hasten to reply to your favor of the 17th 

inst., announcing my nomination to the office of Chief 

Magistrate of this State by the Whig- Convention, held at 

Syracuse, on the nth inst. You are also pleased to inform 


nunciation of the nominations which is clone in a manner to 
meet my approbation and merit my warm thanks. 

There is a great deal of enthusiasm here. We have but 
two tilings to fear. First the abolition vote. 2d that our 
friends will mistake these great enthusiastic, meetings for 
the election, and omit to take the requisite steps to canvass 
every town by school districts and furnish proper informa- 
tion to the doubtful men and make the necessary arrange- 
ments to bring every whig voter to the polls in the forenoon 
of the day of election. 

Cassius M. Clay can do much to aid us on the first point, 
and will return from Boston to the Ratification meeting at 
Rochester and then devote the rest of his time till election 
in attending meetings as we shall think best. Some system 
is necessary that the ground may not be travelled over 
twice. Our committee will send a list of appointments to 
day to Mr. King for Orleans, Erie, Wyoming & Genesee, 
and we trust the State Committee will perfect the list as 
soon as possible, have it first published in some abolition 
paper and then published in our own papers. This will 
carry the notice in a suitable manner to those whom we 
are most anxious to have hear him. Dont fail to have it 
attended to forthwith. 

On the 2d point our State committee must act. No time 
is to be lost. But the mail is closing and I can not say more 
or read over. 

Send me a copy of your weekly till after election. 

Truly yours, Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rocliester, N. V. 


me of the entire unanimity with which that nomination was 
made and to request my acceptance. 

The honors and emoluments of office cannot add value to 
such flattering evidence of the respect and confidence of so 
enlightened and patriotic a body of my fellow citizens ; and 
I may he excused for saying that my grateful sense of this 
distinguished compliment is not lessened by an unaffected 
distrust of my ability to meet the responsibilities my friends 
seek to cast upon me. 

It is due to myself to say that I have uniformly felt and 
expressed a sincere wish thai: I might not be made the can- 
didate ; and were I at liberty to act upon merely personal 
considerations, I should still desire to avoid it. But in a 
crisis like the present, no man ought to be governed solely 
by personal interests and feelings. In my deliberate judg- 
ment the Whig cause is the cause of the country, and the 
patriotism of any man may well be questioned who will not 
make every sacrifice, but that of honor or principle, for the 
success of that cause. 

The Whig party, with which I have been proud to act, 
has a right to determine in what capacity I can be most 
useful. The party, with an unanimity characteristic of its 
exalted purposes, and which more strongly than any other 
circumstance, guarantees its final triumph, has assigned me 
my station. With such a party, and in such a cause, I may 
not withhold any sacrifice, or shrink from any responsibility. 

In this spirit, disregarding pressing personal social re- 
lations, I freely accept a nomination so generously given. 
If elected, my utmost efforts shall be devoted to the dis- 
charge of the onerous duties which will devolve upon me, 
and it will be the first wish of my heart, that those efforts 
may tend, in some degree, to the prosperity of my native 
State, and to the happiness of my fellow citizens. 

Be pleased to accept, individually, the assurance of my 
high regard. Your fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore 

To Messrs. Christopher Morgan and James S. Thayer, 
committee, &c. 


"all is gone — but honor !" 

Buffalo Nov. 6, 1844. 

Dear Weed: We fear all is lost. Contrary to all our 
anticipations the foreign vote of this county went almost 
unanimously against us, and as near as I can calculate our 
majority on the electoral ticket is 1838, when we should 
have had 2800. The governor ticket is probably about the 
same. We have however one consolation, we die fighting 
in a good cause; and have done every thing that honorable 
men could do to deserve a better fate. Much as I was 
averse to receiving the nomination, I do not now regret 
that I accepted it. My friends required this sacrifice for 
the cause. I gave it and gave it freely, and I neither ask 
pity nor commiseration for my fate. I would rather fail in 
such a cause than be crowned with a diadem for life, if that 
must be obtained, as I verily believe it has been by our op- 
ponents, by sacrificing the best interests of the country and 
by employing the basest arts of the demagogue. 

But let us not despair of the Republic — another day or 
another time may show clear skies and more cheering pros- 
pects. 1 should be perfectly content could I know that Mr. 
Clay was elected, but I fear all is gone — but honor ! 
In haste, 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 
T. Weed, Esq. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollisfer, Rochester, N. Y. 

Buffalo, November nth, 1844. 
My dear Sir: I have thought for three or four days 
that I would write you, but really I. am unmanned. I have 
no courage or resolution. All is gone. The last hope, 
which hung first upon the city of New York and then upon 
Virginia, is finally dissipated, and I see nothing but despair 
depicted on every countenance. 


For myself 1 have no regrets. I was nominated much 
against my will, and though not insensible to the pride of 
success, yet I feel a kind of relief at being- defeated. But 
not so for you or for the nation. Every consideration of 
justice, every feeling of gratitude conspired in the minds 
of honest men to insure your election; and though always 
doubtful of my own success, I coidd never doubt yours, till 
the painful conviction was forced upon me. 

The Abolitionists and foreign Catholics have defeated us 
in this State. I will not trust myself to speak of the vile 
hypocrisy of the leading Abolitionists now. Doubtless many 
acted honestly but ignorantly in what they did. But it is 
clear that Birney and his associates sold themselves to 
Locofocoism, and they will doubtless receive their reward. 

Our opponents, by pointing to the Native Americans and 
to Mr. Frelinghuysen, drove the foreign Catholics from us 
and defeated us in this State. 

But it is vain to look at the causes by which this infamous 
result has been produced. It is enough to say that all is 
gone, and I must confess that nothing has happened to shake 
my confidence in our ability to sustain a free government so 
much as this. If with such issues and such candidates as 
the national contest presented, we can be beaten, what may 
we not expect? A cloud of gloom hangs over the future. 
May God save the country ; for it is evident the people will 
not. . . . 

[Millard Fillmore] 


various papers. 


Buffalo, Oct. 8, 1846. 

Dear Sir: I have just received yours of this date; and 
am as much surprised as you can be to hear that "you are an 
object of special execration with all my friends in Buffalo," 
for the part you took in the nomination of my friend Mr. 


I can only say, 1 was not before aware that you were at 
the convention. I clo not recollect that I have heard your 
name mentioned in connexion with the proceedings of the 
convention, except that it was said that some of Mr. Young's 
friends had a letter of mine to you, dated on the 4th of 
August, of which, some who were anxious for my nomina- 
tion, thought an unfair use was made. 

You say that you said, I "did not desire the nomination 
and would much prefer that it should fall on Mr. Young. ,y 
These were certainly my sentiments, and I believe under all 
circumstances, my language. I did all that I felt justified 
in doing to have this understood and to produce this result, 
consistent with my obligations as a whig, to the whig party. 

I was not aware until after the adjournment of Congress, 
that there was any general desire for my nomination. In- 
deed I think there was not ; but that the action of that body 
upon the tariff, induced some of our friends to think that a 
stronger rally could be made upon my name than upon Mr. 
Youngs. But it had then been so long tacitly understood 
that Mr. Young was to be the candidate and I had so often 
expressed a concurrence in that, and an unwillingness to 
enter the field again, that I did not feel at liberty to suffer 
my name to go before the public as a candidate for nomina- 
tion if J could prevent it. Not knowing however what 
might occur I did not feel at liberty to say that under no 
circumstances would I accept a nomination if tendered. 
While I took pains to have it distinctly understood that I 
did not desire the nomination, I felt that it would be both 
arrogant and ungrateful to say in advance that I would not 
accept it. if a large majority of my friends should, after 
knowing my wishes, declare by their votes in the convention, 
that I ought to take the nomination. Had I felt at liberty to 
consult my own wishes and feelings, I should have declared 
in advance that under no circumstances Would I accept a 
nomination. But after consultation with some of my 
friends, they thought as a true Whig, I could not do it, and 
in this opinion I concurred. The consequence was to place 
me in a false position, to my own friends & to those of Mr. 
Young also. While my friends sought my nomination, they 


regarded me as opposing their wishes, and if I am rightly 
informed, many of Air. Youngs friends regarded me as 
competing with him for the nomination. The effect there- 
fore has been to grieve my own true friends for whose 
generous confidence I cannot but feci the most grateful 
emotions, without satisfying the friends of Mr. Young. 

I foresaw and feared this from the beginning. But I 
was determined to keep my faith as far as circumstances 
would permit with Mr. Young and his friends and with 
the great Whig party of the State, to which I am indebted 
for so many generous marks of confidence, and for the 
success of which I feel bound at all times to make any 
sacrifice. If in doing this however, I have forfeited the 
confidence of m\ own friends and incurred the hostility of 
those who preferred Mr. Young, I deeply regret it. But 
if in its consequences it shall only affect me personally, it 
is of slight importance, I hope and trust that it may not 
prejudice the glorious cause in which we are all engaged. 
I shall give my cordial and zealous support to Mr. Young, 
and I hope every friend of mine will do the same. I deem 
the election of vast importance as it will doubtless exert a 
controlling influence upon the next presidential canvass. I 
have great confidence that we shall succeed — and I have 
entire confidence in the ability and integrity of Mr. Young 
to administer the government of this State. 

That you were my friend as well as his, I have never 
'doubted, and I have just as little doubt that you have in all 
this matter acted in the utmost good faith to me; and I 
trust that you will not hesitate to believe that I have acted 
in equal good faith to yourself and to Mr. Young and to 
the Whig cause. 

I write in haste but am 


truly your friend 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. T. Childs 

P. S. — Since writing the above, it has occurred to me 
that it might aid the cause if the sentiments expressed were 
made public. But of this you are the best judge. I am on 


the point of leaving town and have not time to review or 
copy. You are at liberty to use the letter or such parts as 
are not personal to yourself, in any way to advance the 
cause. M. F. 

Etting collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


To the Secy of State 

My dear Sir: If no answer has been given to the tele- 
graphic despatch stating the rescue of a slave in Boston, I 
should be happy to see you a moment. 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 
Feb)- '47. 

Webster collection, Library of Congres?. 

This undoubtedly refers to the abduction of a slave who had escaped from 
New Orleans in a ship in 1S46 belonging to John H. Peaison. In Boston 
harbor, "the slave escaped from the vessel, was pursued and captured on shore, 
was forcibly held against law in the waters of Massachusetts, and sent back 
to slavery in the barque Niagara." (Winsor's "Memorial History of Boston," 
p. 390.) A public meeting was held at Faneuil Hall, Sept. 24, 1846, presided 
over by John Quincy Adams, who gives some account of the case in his diary 
("Memoirs," xii, p. 273), but not the name of the fugitive. The famous 
Shadrach case, and others notable in Boston history, did not occur until 185 1 
or later — subsequent to the signing of the Fugitive Slave Act. 


Buffalo, Sept. 12, 1847 
Col. Abert 

Dr Sir: The bearer of this, Clark M. Carr, Esq. of 
this County visits West Point to see his son, who is a cadet 
in the Military Academy at that place. 

I am informed that his son is charged with some de- 
linquency in the discharge of his duty, for which he is to 
be tried by a court martial of which you are a member. 

I know nothing of the case except from Mr. Carr, and 
if 1 did, a sense of propriety would prevent me from say- 
ing anything to an officer of the board. But as Mr. Carr 
is a stranger there, I take the liberty of introducing him to 


you, and I also take great pleasure in saying that I have 
known him well for many years, and he is a gentleman of 
high respectability and unquestioned integrity. 
I have the honor to be 

Your obt. servt 

Millard Fillmore 

Conarroe collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Col. John James Abert, to whom this letter was addressed, had a long 
military service; at the time of this letter he was at the head of the bureau 
of topographical engineers, U. S. A. 


Buffalo, Nov. 11, 1847. 
Dear Weed: I must trouble some one, and why not 
you? I infer I am elected comptroller from the number 


Buffalo, Oct. 226., 1847. 

Dear Weed : Our barn burning friends here are doing 
all they can indirectly to defeat the Hunker ticket. Rut I 
fear there is an over confidence that may defeat us after all. 

We have judged it expedient here not to hold any public 
meetings, but we are doing what we can to organize by 
school districts and bring out the Whig vote. 

We have just received the circular of the State committee. 
It is a great pity it was not sent out 10 days earlier. It will 
hardly reach those points where it is most needed till after 

I have been at Batavia and Rochester within a few days. 
Every one says "all is safe" but I fear this confidence may 
be fatal to us. I urged them to exertion and tney promised 
to go systematically to work. 

Can you give me. any intelligence from the East or 
South? Pray let me hear from you, and know what is 

doin S"- [Millard Fillmore] 

T. Weed, Esq. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


of applications for clerkships, but I have really been too 
busy to look at the matter, and I can assure all that their 
applications will be in time on the ist of Jany. I must see 
what the public service requires before I can say any thing 
about appointments. 

My object now is to trouble you to ascertain for me from 
Mr. Flagg or any one else, how soon I ought to be in Al- 
bany. Whether my duties will require any previous prep- 
aration by informing myself of the state of things in the 
office before my predecessor leaves, and if they do when I 
had best go down. 

I am very busy in court & have been every moment since 
the election, & I lock with dread at the responsibilities it has 
imposed upon me ; but I know from experience that patient 
labor and perseverance overcome every obstacle. [Letter 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

living arrangements at albany. 

Buffalo, Nov. 21, 1847. 

Dear Weed: Our court is yet in session & probably 
will be for two weeks to come, and I have found myself too 
busy either to thank you for past favors, or to avail myself 
of your proffered aid. But as I can not hope to be in Al- 
bany before the 15th or 20th of next month, I should be 
glad to have some one make some inquiries for a suitable 
boarding place, and I therefore venture to trouble you. You 
will better understand what I want when I state my situa- 

My children are both at school in Mass. and my wife's 
health is too poor to think of troubling her with the cares 
of housekeeping for the present. I therefore prefer to 
board, and want suitable apartments [letter cut] say a bed 
room, parlor and [letter cut] or office for myself. If at a 
hotel I should generally prefer taking my meals at the 
ordinary, but should desire such arrangements that I could 
dine a few friends in my own apartments, or secluded from 


the mass if I chose. When my children should visit me, I 
should want suitable apartments for them. On some ac- 
counts I would prefer a temperance house, as I do not drink 
myself, and others would then understand without notice 
or apology that I did not intend to offer it to them. Still 
this is not indispensable, as I have lived long enough to do 
what I think right though others may differ from me in 
opinion. On some accounts, I should like the Delavan 
House, but on others 1 should prefer a place a little more 
retired. It is so directly in the great thoroughfare, that I 
fear the travelling public would make too heavy a draft 
upon my time, and the constant rush and bustle would dis- 
turb the quiet and repose of my wife, unless her health 
should be better than it now is. But still it may be the best 
place after all. Please make the requisite inquiries as to 
rooms, price &c, and write me your opinion. 

I am really sorry to give you this trouble but hope I may 
be able at some time to reciprocate the favor. 
1 am truly yours 

[Millard Fillmore] 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 


Albany, May 2d, 1848. 
{To Daniel Webster] 

My Dear Sir: Your private note of the 24th ult. came 
to hand, yesterday, and I avail myself of the first leisure 
moment to reply. 

You can not have had more cause to regret the coolness 
that has some time existed between us than myself. The 
cause of it 1 never suspected until informed of it by our 
mutual and esteemed friend Mr. Fessenden, some four years 
since, when we accidentally met at the Astor House. 1 was 
not aware of the letter to which you allude, addressed by 
me as chairman of the committee of Ways & Means to you 
as Secretary of State which you deemed (and no doubt 
truly) disrespectful. 1 trust you will believe me when I say 


that nothing of the kind could have been intended. My 
duties were so varied atid laborious that I was compelled to 
intrust to the clerk of the Committee the task of writing 
the letters to the departments, from general directions. He 
generally wrote them after adjournment of the committee 
for the morning and while the house was in session, and 
brought them to me in my seat for my signature. I had 
seldom time to do more than sign without reading them ; 
and in this way the accident must have occurred of sending 
a letter which never would have been sent, had I supposed 
it contained a word or phrase, that could by any possibility 
have been tortured into seeming disrespect. 

I am gratified to know that you are already appraised of 
the substance of what I have now related, and to be assured 
that the explanation is satisfactory and that 1 still enjoy a 
portion of your respect and esteem, which I can assure you 
I value very highly. 

I am frank to say there is no man in the nation for whom 
I have entertained, and still entertain, so high a regard. 
My respect has bordered upon veneration, and my esteem 
upon admiration, and though this estrangement to which 
you allude, has prevented all correspondence and inter- 
course, yet it has not prevented me from noticing and ad- 
miring your uniform high and statesmanlike course in the 
Senate which has uniformly met my entire approval. 

I sympathize with you most deeply in your domestic af- 
flictions, and would that it was in my power to offer con- 
solation, but that must come from a higher source. 

I write in much haste without time to copy and beg leave 
to subscribe myself 

Your devoted friend Millard Fillmore 

Printed, Van Tyne's "Letters of Daniel Webster," p. 364. 


Albany, May 30, 1848. 
Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter, inviting me to attend a meeting to be 



held at the Broadway Tabernacle on the 3rd of June, for 
the purpose of extending aid and sympathy to Ireland, in 
the present eventful crisis of her fate; and I regret to say, 
that my official engagements are such as to deprive me of 
that pleasure. 

No man who has a heart can fail to feel for suffering 
Ireland. Her brave sons have fought the battles of the 
civilized world, but her own they have yet to light; and 
why England continues to hold her in subjection, against 
her will and by mere force, is to me unaccountable. Is it 
from the mere love of dominion, or the fear, that if Ireland 
resumes her stand among nations of the earth, that her dis- 
tant colonies may seek to sunder the frail tie that binds them 
to the mother country? Whatever may be the motive, it 
seems clear, that the union is profitless to England and 
ruinous to Ireland ; and I trust the time is not far distant, 
when Irishmen will again breathe the free air of an inde- 
pendent and happy People. 

Respectfully yours, &c, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Messrs, James H. Titus, Peter McLaughlin, Robert 
Hogan, William F. White, J. C. Devereaux, John 
T. Doyle, John A. McGlynn, and Nelson J. 
Waterbury, Committee [New York City]. 

accepting nomination for vice-president. 

To the letter of the president of the National Whig con- 
vention, informing him of his nomination for Vice-Presi- 
dent, Air. Fillmore made the following reply : 

Albany, N. Y., June 17, 1848. 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of the 10th inst., by which I am notified that at 
the late Whig Convention at Philadelphia, Gen. Zachary 
Taylor was nominated for President and myself for Vice- 
President, and requesting my acceptance. 


The honor of being thus presented by the distinguished 
representatives of the Whig party of the Union for the 
second office in the gift of the people — an honor as unex- 
pected as it was unsolicited — could not fail to awaken in a 
grateful heart emotions which, while they can not be sup- 
pressed, find no appropriate language for utterance. 

Fully persuaded that the cause in which we are enlisted 
is the cause of our country, that our chief object is to secure 
its peace, preserve its honor, and advance its prosperity ; 
and feeling, moreover, a confident assurance that in General 
Taylor (whose name is presented for the first office) I shall 
always find a firm and consistent Whig, a safe guide, and 
an honest man, I can not hesitate to assume any position 
which my friends may assign me. 

Distrusting, as I well may, my ability to discharge satis- 
factorily the duties of that high office, but feeling that, in 
case of my election, I may with safety repose upon the 
friendly aid of my fellow Whigs, and that efforts guided 
by honest intentions will always be charitably judged, I ac- 
cept the nomination so generously tendered, and I do this 
the more cheerfully, as I am willing, for such a cause and 
with such a man, to take my chances of success or defeat, 
as the electors, the final arbiters of our fate, shall, in their 
wisdom, judge best for the interests of our common coun- 

Please accept the assurance of my high regard and 
esteem, and permit me to subscribe myself 

Your friend and fellow-citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Hon. J. M. Morehead. 

This letter was published by the Whig press generally. 


Albany, June 17, 184S. 
John E. Go wan, Esq. 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of the 10th inst., in which you desire my views 



on certain points expressed in your letter. These inquiries 
are doubtless addressed to me in consequence of my recent 
nomination for the Vice Presidency ; but while I never 
have [shrunk] and. trust I never shall, shrink from any of- 
ficial responsibility that may be cast upon me, I am admon- 
ished by the experience of others, that, as the candidate of 
the party that has put me in nomination, I am not at liberty 
now to make up and publish my political faith. A Whig 
Convention, without solicitation on my part, has generously 
taken me upon trust; and if there be any other sect or 
party that have sufficient confidence in my patriotism and 
integrity to give me their support, on the same conditions, 
I shall be grateful for the favor; but must say to all, that 
my past conduct is the only pledge I can give for my future 
course. I must be at liberty, when called upon to act, to do 
what I think is right. 

Trusting that if you do not. concur with me in opinion as 
to the propriety of the course which I have adopted, you 
will at least believe me when I say that no disrespect is in- 
tended to you, or those for whom you speak, in declining 
to express my opinion on the subjects to which you refer. 
I remain truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 

This letter had general publication. 


Albany, July 28, 184S. 

Dear Sir: Your letter of the 25th notifying me that 
the Young Men's Taylor Convention, for the City and 
County of Philadelphia, had recently held a meeting at 
which I was unanimously nominated for the office of Vice 
President, has this moment come to hand. 

You will please to make my profound acknowledgment 
to the Young Men of Philadelphia, for this distinguished 
mark of their confidence, and assure them that their nomina- 
tion is received with grateful emotions and sincere thanks. 

The young men have much to do in the approaching con- 
test. Old issues are gradually passing away, and new 


issues engross the public attention. Our march is onward. 
The impulse of the young and ardent is everywhere felt. — 
Their zeal is salutary, their enthusiasm is most effective; 
but let us temper all with prudence, and despise not the 
wisdom which is drawn from the teaching's of the past. 
Thus shall we preserve unimpeached, the glorious institu- 
tions which we have inherited from our forefathers, and 
transmit the blessings of liberty to our posterity. 

Accept the assurance of my high regard, and believe me, 
trul > T 3'ours, Millard Fillmore 

To John H. Bryant, Esq., Secretary, &c. 

Printed, Philadelphia Enquirer, Aug., 1848. 


Albany, N. Y., July 31, 1848. 
Hon. John Gayle, 

Dear Sir: I have your letter of the 15th inst., but my 
official duties have been so pressing that I have been com- 
pelled to neglect my private correspondents. I had also 
determined to write no letters for publication bearing upon 
the contest in the approaching canvass. , But as you desire 
some information for your own satisfaction in regard to the 
charges brought against me from the South on the slave 
question, I have concluded to state briefly my position. 

While I was in Congress there was much agitation on 
the right of petition. My votes will doubtless be found 
recorded uniformly in favor of it. The rule upon which I 
acted was. that every citizen presenting a respectful peti- 
tion to the body that by the Constitution had the power to 
grant or refuse the prayer of it, was entitled to be heard; 
and therefore the petition ought to be received and con- 
sidered. If right and reasonable, the prayer of it should 
be granted ; but if wrong or unreasonable, it should be 
denied. 1 think all my votes, whether on the reception of 
petitions or the consideration of resolutions, will be found 
consistent with this rule. 



I have none of my congressional documents here, they 
being at my former residence in Buffalo, nor have I access 
to any papers or memoranda to refresh my recollection; 
but 1 think at some time, while in Congress I took occasion 
to state in substance my views on the subject of slavery in 
the States. Whether the remarks were reported or not 1 
am unable to say, but the substance was that I regarded 
slavery as an evil, but one with which the National Govern- 
ment had nothing to do. That by the Constitution of the 
United States the whole power over that question was 
vested in the several States where the institution was tol- 
erated. If they regarded it as a blessing, they had a con- 
stitutional right to enjoy it; and if they regarded it as an 
evil, they had the power and knew best how r to apply the 
remedy. I did not conceive that Congress had any power 
over it, or was in any way responsible for its continuance in 
the several States where it existed. I have entertained no 
other sentiments on this subject since I examined it suf- 
ficiently to form an opinion, and I doubt not that all my 
acts, public and private, will be found in accordance with 
this view. 

I have the honor to be, 

your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. John Gayle 

[Mobile, Ala.] 

The above is one of several letters written by Mr. Fillmore in 1848 to meet 
the charge that he was an abolitionist. See Fillmore to Jno. B. Peyton, Aug. 20, 
1848, and to Hon. Tas. Brooks, Sept. 13, X848. These letters had wide publica- 
tion, not only in 1S48, but in 1S50, when Mr. Fillmore succeeded to the Presi- 
dency and the attempt was made in certain quarters to identify him with the 
abolition- — or as it was termed in sundry publications, "the fanatical anti-slavery 


Albany, August 20, 184S. 
Dear Sir : I have, the honor to acknowledge the receipt 
of youfnote of the 9th instant, enclosing a printed copy of 


the resolutions adopted by the Rough and Ready Club of 
Raymond on the 5th instant, and desiring to know whether 
the practical sentiments contained in these resolutions are 
in accordance with my views. 

The 10th and nth only speak of my position and views. 
Though I cannot feel justified in appropriating to myself 
all the flattering compliments contained in those resolutions, 
yet I am happy to say that they truly define my position 
and express my views on the subjects to which they allude. 

I am happy to inform you that, unless something occurs 
which cannot be foreseen, I think that this State is certain 
for the Whig ticket by a large majority. 

Please to make my acknowledgments to the members of 
your Club, and believe me, 

Respectfully, yours, 

Millard Fillmore 
Jno. B. Peyton, Esq., President. 

Tbe following are the resolutions referred to: 

10. Resolved, That we recognize in Millard Fillmore, the Whig candidate 
for the Vice-Presidency, a genuine republican, a pure patriot, a man of exalted 
intellect and high acquirements — one who has served the Republic long and 
faithfully in the civil department of Government, whose every act manifests 
that he is a true devotee of liberty, whose name is prominently identified with 
the Whig party, and whose talents and patriotism justly entitle him to the love 
and admiration of his countrymen. 

11. Resolved, That the charge of abolitionism, recklessly adduced against 
Millard Fillmore, by unscrupulous partisan opponents, for the purpose of ex- 
citing sectional prejudices against him, has no foundation whatever in truth; 
but on the contrary is triumphantly disproved by the solemn declaration of our 
candidate for the Vice-Presidency, uttered long since in the Councils of the 
nation, that Congress has no power, under the Constitution, to interfere with 
the institution of domestic slavery as it exists in the States of this Union; and 
that therefore we feel assured that Southern institutions will never be assailed 
or molested by any act of Millard Fillmore. 


Allan y, Sept. 13. 1848. 
James Brooks, Esq., 

Dear Sir : I returned this morning from the West, and 
have yours of the 10th, in which you say it has been 
charged in the Richmond Enquirer, that I hold it to be 


within the power of Congress to interfere with, or break- 
off, the transportation., removal, or disposal of persons held 
as slaves, from one Slaveholding- State to another. 

I am not aware that this question has ever been dis- 
cussed in Congress, or was ever presented tor the considera- 
tion of the Supreme Court of the United States, before 1841. 
In that year the celebrated case from "Mississippi was de- 
cided, and Mr. Justice McLean gave an elaborate opinion 
on this point, in which the Chief Justice concurred. He 
came to the conclusion that the constitutional power over 
this matter was vested in the several States, and not in 
Congress. So far as my knowledge extends, this opinion 
carried conviction to every unprejudiced mind, and the 
question was considered settled. At any rate this was my 
own opinion then, and I have seen no cause to change it 
since. Should I do so, I should not hesitate to declare it. 

You will therefore perceive, that you did me no injus- 
tice in representing to your friend that these were mv sen- 

I write in haste, amid the pressure of official duties, but 

remain _ . 

1 ruly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Sept. 25, 1S4S, and other papers. 

The foregoing letter was called forth by Mr. Brooks of the New York 
Express, who directed Mr. Fillmore's attention to an attempt which was being 
made to create a prejudice against him in the South, on the ground that he was 
"a thorough-going Abolitionist." Among other things, it was alleged that he 
held it within the power of Congress to prevent the transfer of persons held as 
slaves from one slaveholding state to another. Justice McLean's opinion, cited 
by Mr. Fillmore, was rendered Jan. 7, 1^41, in the case of Groves and others vs. 
Slaughter. (15 Peters Rep. 449, P- 5°3-) 


Albany, N. Y.. Sept. 20, 1848. 

Dear Sir: Yours inclosing a copy of your printed circu- 
lar for our State Committee, came to hand while I was 
absent at the West, and on my return, the time was so near 
when our state convention was to meet and a new committee 


would be appointed that I delayed answering till that should 
be done. But unfortunately by some unaccountable accident 
the committee was not announced until yesterday, though 
the convention sat a week since. But today I handed over 
yours to James Kidd of this city, who is the most active 
man of the committee here. 

Andrew II. Calhoun, Esq., clerk of the Senate, residing 
here, and publishing a campaign paper called the "Rough & 
Ready" is well acquainted with the politics of our state, and 
would doubtless be a good correspondent. But rest assured 
tliat this state is sure for the Whig ticket by 40,000 majority. 

Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore. 

[To P. Greeley, Jr., Boston.] 

Original MS. owned by Chas. E. Goodspeed, Boston. 


Albany, Sept. 30, 1848. 

Dear Sir : I have yours of the 26th and have consulted 
our central committee, and written to our editor, Dr. Thomas 
M. Foote, of Buffalo, on the subject. This gubernatorial 
election takes place [in] 10 days. It is too late to do any 
thing effectual in aid of that. But we think the result of 
that will show our weak points, and enable us to strengthen 
them for the presidential election in November. 

I have just received a letter from the Hon. Truman 
Smith who is at Washington, most usefully and laboriously 
employed in the Whig Committee room. He says "I am 
probably in a better situation than any other man in the 
country to know what is the real state of public sentiment, 
and what are our prospects of success in the General contest 
before us, and the result to which I have come is that "Old 
Zach" is bound to go in as president and you as V. P. — I 
have considered the prospects flattering for some time, but I 
have not permitted myself to come to any positive conclusion 


on the subject until lately. I wanted to see grounds of con- 
fidence in one of the great states of Pa., Va. or Ohio. That 
confidence I now have in the latter. My letters are numer- 
ous from that state, and those received of late are so full 
and satisfactory that I can not permit myself any longer to 
doubt,- — I am confident we shall carry Ohio." 

Mr. Smith is a sanguine man, and may over estimate our 
strength, but we can judge better after the governor election. 

Respectfully Yours 

Millard Fillmore. 
P. Greeley, Jr., Esq. 

Original MS. owned by Chas. E. Goodspeed, Boston. 

Other letters from Mr. Fillmore to Mr. P. Greeley, Jr., are preserved, but 
relate to matters of no historical interest or value, and are omitted from this 


Albany, N. Y., Nov. 18, 1848. 
R. M. McAlpin, 

Dear Sir: I am honored by the receipt of your note 
of the 2 1st alt., enclosing a copy of the Address of the 
''Fillmore Rangers" of New Orleans. 

It did not reach me until the contest had closed, and the 
din of strife had given way to the exultations of triumph 
and the. song of victory. 

But I can assure you that the noble and truly national 
sentiments of that address find a hearty response in my 
breast, and the triumphant Whig vote in your city is the 
best evidence of the zeal and ability with which the young 
men of your club discharge their duty to the Whig party 
and the country. My illustrious associate on the ticket re- 
quired no vindication, and I therefore feel the more deeply 
the obligation which I have incurred by the noble stand 
which these young men took in my favor, and I acknowl- 
edge it with heartfelt thanks, and trust they will never have 
reason to regret the confidence they have reposed in me. 


Please make my grateful acknowledgments to the Club 
over which you preside, and accept for yourself the assur- 
ance of my high regard and esteem. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore 


[Fall of 1848.] 
. . . To me there is no manifestation of popular senti- 
ment which calls up such deep feelings of gratitude as that 
generous vote of my old friends and early constituents of 
the county of Erie. It is now twenty years since they first 
elected me to the Assembly, and from that day to this they 
have stood by me through good and through evil report, 
and sustained me under all circumstances with a zeal and 
fidelity almost unknown in this country; and the last 
crowning act of their continued kindness and confidence 
awakens the deepest emotions of a grateful heart. 

I trust, too, that you will not blame me for expressing 
the pride which I feel in receiving so flattering a vote in 
my native State. But these things are in a measure per- 
sonal to myself, and therefore of little importance. But 
the cordiality and unanimity with which the Whig ticket 
has been sustained every where, North and South, East and 
West, is a just cause of national felicitation. It proves 
that the great Whig party is truly a national party — that it 
occupies that safe and conservative ground which secures 
to every section of the country all that it has a right to 
claim under the guaranty of the Constitution — that such 
rights are inviolate — and as to all other questions of mere 
policy, where Congress has the constitutional right to legis- 
late, the will of the people, as expressed through their rep- 
resentatives in Congress, is to control, and that will is not 
to be defeated by the arbitrary interposition of the veto 

This simple rule which holds sacred all constitutional 
guarantees, and leaves the law-making power where the 



Albany, April 10, 1849. 
Hon. T[homas] Ewing, 

Sir: Herein I enclose a petition for the appointment of 
Cyrus Fillmore, a brother of mine, Receiver of the land 
office at Fort Wayne. 

Constitution placed it, in Congress, relieves the party at once 
from all the embarrassing questions that arise out of sec- 
tional differences of opinion, and enables it to act har- 
moniously for the good of the country. When the Presi- . 
dent ceases to control the law-making power, his individual 
opinions of what the law ought to be, become comparatively 
unimportant. Hence we have seen General Taylor, though 
attacked as a slaveholder and a pro-slavery man at the 
North, cordially supported and triumphantly elected by men 
opposed to slavery, in all its forms ; and though I have 
been charged at the South, in the most gross and wanton 
manner, with being an abolitionist and an incendiary, yet 
the Whigs of the South have cast these calumnies to the 
winds, and without asking or expecting any thing more 
than what the Constitution guarantees to them on this sub- 
ject, they have yielded to me a most hearty and enthusiastic 
support. This was particularly so in New Orleans, where 
the attack was most violent. 

Really, these Southern Whigs are noble fellows. Would 
you not lament to see the Union dissolved, if for no other 
reason than that it separated us from such true, noble and 
high-minded associates? But I regard this election as put- 
ting an end to all ideas of disunion. It raises up a national 
party, occupying a middle ground, and leaves the fanatics 
and disunionists, North and South, without the hope of 
destroying the fair fabric of our Constitution. May it be 
perpetual ! . . . 

The foregoing was printed by the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, with no 
indication of the person to whom it was addressed. 


Being a brother it seems improper that I should express 
any opinion as to the propriety of the appointment. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mr. J. M. Fox, Philadelphia. 


New York, April 14th 1849 

Mr. Brooks one of the Members of Congress elect from 
this City, visits Washington bearing a communication to 
the President on the subject of appointments for this City, 
to which we solicit your immediate attention, he has our 
confidence and will express to you in detail the conversations 
we have had. 

George Briggs M. C. 

Walter Underbill M. C. 

C. S. Wood hull, 


J. Phillips Phoenix M. C. 

I concur in the above 

Millard Fillmore 

Clayton collection, Library of Congress. 



Buffalo April 27, '49 
Hon. J. M. Clayton, 

My Dr Sir: From certain remarks in the leading ar- 
ticle of the Express which I enclose, I infer that the editor 
Mr. Clapp does not feel friendly to you. 

I am told that he was taken into counsel by Kellogg the 
recently appointed Marshall and advised the appointment 
of a deputy here who should pledge himself against me and 


my friends This I might expect, but I see no cause for the 
evident feeling against you. 

In haste 

Millard Fillmore 

Clayton collection, Library of Congress. 


Buffalo, May 10, 1849. 
Hon. John M. Clayton, 

My Dear Sir: Some time since I recommended to the 
President and yourself Dr. Thomas M. Foote of this city 
as a suitable person for the office of minister resident at 
Constantinople. To this I received no official acknowledg- 
ment but was informed by a person who afterwards saw the 
president that he said lie had determined to offer Dr. Foote 
the appointment of Charge to Bogota; and this last report 
has been circulated through the papers. But on inquiry to 
day I learn from the Doctor that he has been tendered no 
such appointment, nor has he received any official com- 
munication on the subject. This led me to hope that he 
might still be offered the place at Constantinople. But at 
any rate if it is settled that he is to be offered either I should 
be happy to be informed of it. 

Respectfully Yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Clayton collection, Library of Congress. 


Aberdeen, Miss June 3, '49 
Dear Sir: I have taken the liberty to trespass upon your time 
to request some information concerning William Henry Vesey, who 
held an office under government during the administration of Mr. 
Van Buren, at St. Ubcs in Portugal. From a gentleman who was 
travelling in Portugal in '42 I heard that Mr. Vesey was then in 
St. Ubes. During the preceding administrations, I have in the 
absence of other means, frequently applied to public men for infor- 
mation of my relative, but my letters were all unanswered. From 


your generous and sympathetic character I have ventured to hope 
this mission will not meet the fate of its predecessors. 

With considerations of high respect I have the honor to be 
Your most obedt Servt 

J. W. Vesey. 


Hon. J. M. Clayton, 

Dr Sir : This letter addressed to me at Washington has 
just reached me here, and as I doubt not you possess more 
of the good nature ascribed to me than my friends would 
give me credit for. I enclose it to you for the desired in- 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 
Buffalo, June 27, 1849 

Clayton collection, Library of Congress. 


An invitation having been addressed to Mr. Fillmore by 
citizens of Detroit upon the occasion of his recent visit to 
that city, to partake of a public dinner on his return to 
Detroit from a western tour, Mr. Fillmore returned the 
following reply : 

Detroit, Sept. 29, 1849. 

Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your flattering note of this date, expressing a desire 
to meet me at the festive board, and requesting that 1 would 
indicate the time. 

My visit to your beautiful city is quite accidental, and. 
before the receipt of your letter, I had made my arrange- 
ments to leave in the morning cars for the interior of your 
State. I have enjoyed the pleasure this evening of taking 
many of your citizens by the hand, and it would give me 
inexpressible satisfaction to meet them at the festive board; 


but 1 regret to say that my arrangements are such as to 
compel me to forego that gratification. 

Hoping that the friendly interests of the sister cities of 
Detroit and Buffalo, will perpetuate a cordial union of their 
inhabitants, and make them rivals only in their efforts to 
promote the prosperity and advance the commerce of the 
growing West, 1 beg leave to return my thanks for this 
distinguished mark of your respect, and subscribe myself 
Your ob't serv't, 

Millard Fillmore 

To Messrs. A. D. Fraser, Jacob H. Howard, and others, of 

Printed, Buifalo Commercial Advertiser, Oct. 3, 1849. 



Buffalo, Oct. 29, 1849. 
T. Weed, Esq., 

Dr. Sir: Understanding that you had said that I was 
getting up a list of correspondents for sinister purposes, I 
send you a copy by this mail, trusting, that if on examina- 
tion you find you have been misinformed, you will take 
pleasure in correcting the error. 

I regret that many to whom I wrote delayed their an- 
swers so long that the printing was too late to effect much 
at this election. Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Eirtily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. V. 


Washington, Dec. 22, 1849. 
Thurlow Weed, Esq., 

Dr Sir: After what passed between you and myself in 
New York on my way here, I felt it due to myself as well 


as to you to write to Mr. Boyd and inquire if I ever in- 
formed him that you opposed my nomination as Vice Presi- 
dent at Philadelphia in 1848. It seems he was absent from 
home so that I did not receive an immediate answer, and 
on receiving it I did not feel at liberty to state its contents 
to you without lus assent. I therefore wrote back again and 
this morning received his permission and now enclose you 
an extract from his letter of the 12th inst. in which you will 
perceive that he says that he never was informed by me 
that you opposed my nomination, or so informed you. 
I am respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. With 
this letter is preserved the enclosure referred to above, as follows: 

White Hall, Dec. 12th, 1849. 

Dear Sir: Yours of the 26th of Nov. last reached here in my absence at 
Court at Sandy Hill. 

You never to my recollection informed me that Mr. Weed opposed your 
nomination at the Convention, 184S, nor have I ever so told him. 1 had how- 
ever related to others that he did oppose your nomination, which was reported 
to Weed, he in a conversation with me last fall inquired of me if I had [so] re- 
lated. I replied to him that I bad and so understood it and gave him my rea- 

The delegate from Albany with Mr. Weed, Benedict and others occupied 
a room. While there the subject of Vice President was talked over. Mr. 
Benedict remarked that he would give it to any other person than to you, 
through [sic] it out of the State rather. I supposed that Mr. Weed was present 
and heard the remarks and acquiesced in them for it was generally understood 
that Albany was opposed to your nomination. He admitted that Benedict and 
others from Albany did oppose you, but that he did not which of course I was 
hard to believe. 

Yours respectfully 

I. H. Boyd. 


Washington, Jany 15, 1850. 

Dear Sir : Yours of the loth inst. has been ree'd. Hav- 
ing addressed a letter to the Secretary of War some days 
since, recommending Joseph R. Smith Jr. for a commission 
as Lieutenant should the Army be increased, I have to-day 
given your letter the same direction & requested that it be 


put upon file with mine for future reference; which di 
position of it I hope will meet your approbation. 
I am truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. Geo. R. Babcock. 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily B. Alward, Buffalo. 


Washington, Feb. 19, 1850. 

My dear Sir: I have yours of the 12th inst. and have 
entered your name, as the present head of the Young Men's 
Association of Buffalo, on my list of those to whom docu- 
ments of general interest ure first to be sent. I feel a deep 
interest in your association, and the young men connected 
with it, and will be happy to promote its usefulness and suc- 
cess in any way in my power. 

Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Mr. Cfiarles D. Norton 

Original MS. owned by the Buffalo Public Library. 


Washington, March 7, 1850. 
Hon. G. R. Babcock, 

My dear Sir: Yours of the sth came to hand this morn- 
ing, and I avail myself of the first leisure moment to return 
my thanks for it. It gave me the first intimation of Weed's 
article on the new paper. You know its utter untruth in re- 
gard to myself, and may as well state it. I neither desired 
the nomination for governor nor comptroller, but felt in 
both cases that to accept such a nomination was making a 
sacrifice that I could illy afford to make. 

I had no hostility to our judicial nominations for the 
court of Appeals, but I deemed it important in the transition 


from the old to the new constitution that Chief Justice 
Bronson should go into that court, and not regarding- the 
election of Judges as of a strictly party character, I deter- 
mined to vote for him and did vote for him, and this of 
course compelled me to omit one of the whig nominees, and 
as I knew least of Mr. Jordan [?]. I omitted him, but not 
on account of any prejudice against him, or hostility to him. 

1 voted for all the rest of the whig- ticket, State and district, 
and Judge Whittlesey among the rest, and as I think you 
must have known my views at the time, you arc at liberty to 
state these facts also. I do not myself wish to appear in 
print to vindicate myself from any unjust attacks of the 
Journal or any other paper when I can avoid it. 

As to the establishment of this new paper. Bush and all 
connected with it know that I have urged a purchase of the 
Journal even at a sacrifice of $10,000 rather than establish 

2 new paper. These are still my sentiments, as all I ask is 
an independent whig paper, devoted to the whig party and 
the whig cause, and to nothing else — not selecting its favor- 
ites and neglecting the rest, but leaving the selection of can- 
didates to the appropriate conventions, and giving a just sup- 
port to those who are fairly and regularly nominated. 

But this paper is about to be started. I trust it will be 
discreetly conducted — sustaining no clique, and opposing no 
men or set of men, who act with the whig party. Such a 
paper may do good, and will receive my cordial approbation 
and support. I assisted by my humble might in starting the 
Journal on the same principles and from the same necessity. 
It has done much good & I trust it will do more. If it does 
I shall still be willing to sustain it as I have from its com- 

I write in much haste but am 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

P. S. Mr. Webster made a truly statesman-like speech In 
the Senate to-day. I return a copy of your letter and the 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily B. Alward, Buffalo. 


buffalo's "union" celebration of 1850. 

Washington, June 10, 1850. 

Gentlemen : I have received your kind invitation to 
attend a "Union celebration" in the city of Buffalo, of the 
approaching Anniversary of our National Independence. 
Nothing could give me more pleasure than to mingle with 
my fellow-citizens on that joyous occasion. Judging from 
the favorable reports which I have recently heard of the 
progress of the cause of Temperance in Buffalo, I infer that 
this "Union celebration" implies a union of temperance and 
patriotism — of cool heads and warm hearts — and such a 
union is greatly desired at this time, to save the Union to 
which we are all so devotedly attached. .1 do not, however, 
anticipate that it will be in my power to accept your flatter- 
ing invitation, as my official duties will in all probability re- 
quire my presence here. 

I trust, however, that notwithstanding the present painful 
aspect of our political affairs and the jarring discord of sec- 
tional feeling, that the wisdom and conciliation of the present 
generation are equal to the preservation of that glorious 
Constitution, unimpaired, which they have received as the 
greatest blessing from their ancestors, and that this birthday 
of our nation shall ever find us "one and inseparable." 

Truly yours Millard Fillmore 

Orson Phelps, Esq., and others, 

Committee of Arrangements, Buffalo. 

The celebration on this occasion was in a grove in the neighborhood of 
Virginia and Sixth streets — the latter now Front avenue. 


To the Whigs of Philadelphia, who had invited the Presi- 
dent and Vice-President to attend their celebration on July 
4, 1850, Vice-President Fillmore wrote: 

Washington, June 19, 1850. 
Gentlemen : Your invitation to participate with the 
Democratic Whig citizens of Philadelphia, in their Festival, 


on the approaching anniversary of our Independence, has 
been received. Nothing could, I assure you, give me more 
pleasure than to be permitted to unite, on that occasion, with 
the Whigs of Philadelphia, in rendering "renewed demon- 
strations of attachment and fidelity to the Union." I regret 
to say, however, that I do not anticipate that it will be in my 
power to accept your flattering invitation, as my official 
duties leave but little time at my own disposal. 

I trust, however, notwithstanding sectional feeling pre- 
vails to such an alarming extent, as to give to our political 
horizon a more portentous aspect than it has ever before 
assumed, that the wisdom and conciliation, of the present 
generation are equal to the preservation of our glorious 
Union mid Constitution ; and that they may be transmitted, 
as the richest political legacy, from generation to genera- 

With great respect, I am, gentlemen, 

Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 

lord Elgin's expected visit in buffalo. 

Executive Chamber 
Washington, July 22, 1850. 

My dear Sir: The enclosed copy of a private note ad- 
dressed by Lord Grey to the American Minister in London 
was received this morning accompanied by a letter from 
Mr. Lawrence to myself. 

I take great pleasure in forwarding it to you, as con- 
taining gratifying evidence that the British and Colonial 
authorities appreciate most highly the feelings manifested 
by the authorities and people of Buffalo on the occasion to 
which Lord Grey alludes, and that they esteem the hospi- 
talities so handsomely proffered by you, as the Chief Magis- 
trate of the city, as a striking proof of the kind feelings now 
so happily prevailing between the inhabitants of the Linked 
States and the British Dominions, feelings which it is the 


interest of both countries and the desire of both to cherish 
and maintain. 

With sincere respect 

Very Truly, &c, 

Millard Fillmore 

To the Honorable Henry K. Smith, Mayor of Buffalo, &c. 

The enclosure is as follows: 

Colonial Office [London] 
July 3, 1850. 

My pear Sir: I received by the mail a letter from Lord Elgin in which 
lie expresses his very great regret that he had been disappointed in visiting Buf- 
falo on the occasion of an excursion he lately made to Niagara, with the mem- 
bers of the Canadian Legislature, by various detentions they experienced in pass- 
ing through the canals. He tells me that preparations, on a very magnificent 
scale, had been made by the citizens of Buffalo for the reception of himself and 
his party, but that unfortunately night overtook them before they reached Lake 
Erie, and the intended visit had to be given up. He is anxious that you should 
be aware how high a sense is entertained by himself and his companions of the 
kind feeling evinced on the occasion by the citizens of Buffalo, and how much 
they regretted having been prevented, by circumstances beyond their control, 
from availing themselves of the hospitality so handsomely proffered to them. 
If you have occasion to write to any of your friends in America, perhaps you 
would have the goodness to express the satisfaction with which I have received 
an account of so striking a display of the amicable feelings which prevail be- 
tween the inhabitants of both sides of the boundary line between the United 
States and the British dominions. 

I have the honor to be 

Very faithfully yours 

[signed} Grey. 

His Excellency, The American Minister, &c, &c. 



Washington, July 2$, 1850. 

Dear Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your 
kind note of this date, requesting my acceptance of a part 
of the Wine received by you from your friend S. H. Yeat- 
man, Esq. 

Like yourself, I am chiefly a water drinker, and conse- 
quently not a competent judge of its quality, but it will 
nevertheless be received by me with great pleasure and as 
soon as the removal of the habiliments of mourning from 


the White House will permit the entertainment of my 
friends, it shall be as you request submitted to their criti- 

Very respectfully & truly 

Yours &c. 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. S. P. Chase 

Chase collection, Library of Congress. 


Washington, July 25, 1850. 
John A. Poor, Esq. 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the 
Circular of the Committee for the proposed Railroad Con- 
vention to be held at Portland, on the 31st inst, for the pur- 
pose of taking into consideration the various schemes which 
have been proposed for the construction of a line of Rail- 
way through the State of Maine to the Lower British 
Provinces, and to some good harbor on the Eastern coast 
of Nova Scotia, together with your kind invitation, in be- 
half of the Committee, requesting my attendance at said 
Convention. I extremely regret that my official duties here 
will deprive me of the pleasure of being present on that in- 
teresting occasion. But feeling as I do a deep interest in 
all subjects of internal improvements which are calculated 
to develop the resources and advance the great interests of 
our country, I trust that your proposed Convention may be 
productive of the most happy results, and that through it 
another link may be added to that chain which is binding 
more closely the great commercial interests of this con- 
tinent to those of Europe. 

With my thanks for your flattering invitation, 
I am, very respectfully 

Your ob't servant 

Millard Fillmore 




Washington, August 9, 1850. 
E. P. Prentice, Esq. 

Sir: Yours of the 6th instant, inviting me in behalf of 
the New York State Agricultural Society, to attend the 
Annual Fair and Show, to be held near the city of Albany 
during the first week in September next, was duly received, 
and I desire to express my grateful acknowledgments to the 
Society for their kind invitation, and also to you for the 
flattering terms in which you were pleased to convey it. 

Be assured that nothing would afford me more pleasure 
than to be present at the Fair, and witness the fine speci- 
mens of the mechanic arts and agricultural productions 
which will be there displayed. And if the adjournment of 
Congress and my official duties here will permit my absence 
from the city sufficiently long to enable me to attend it, I 
shall with pleasure avail myself of the invitation which has 
been so kindly extended to me ; but I cannot but apprehend 
that this gratification may be denied me. 

Very respectfully and truly 

Your ob't serv't. 

Millard Fillmore 

[To the President of the New York State Agricultural 

relating to a school exhibit. 

Executive Chamber, 
Washington, August 14, 1850. 


Dear Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt 
of your note of the 12th instant, and beg leave to return to 
you, and through you to the scholars in Mrs. Hinton's 
school, my grateful acknowledgments for the beautiful speci- 
mens which you presented on their behalf, both of their 
industry, and their literary and scientific acquirements. The 


manuscript maps are quite accurate, and the scholar who 
can execute them bids fair to attain distinction. The geo- 
metrical illustrations are beautiful and perfect, and the 
geological specimens appear to be admirably well selected. 
I am much pleased with the idea which you suggest, of 
interchanging these for similar objects in different parts of 
the United States. Such an exchange is not only calculated 
to advance the knowledge of all, but to stimulate each local- 
ity to an effort to excel. 

Wishing you all success in your laudable undertaking, 
and again returning my thanks for the present, which I 
shall take great pleasure in exhibiting to my visitors. 

I remain your obedient servant 

Millard Fillmore 

According to the Washington Republic, the above letter was in acknowl- 
edgment of the receipt of an exhibit of children's work, from the Washington 
public schools. 


Washington, Oct. 14, 1850. 

To Frederick W. Porter, Esq., Corresponding Secretary 
of the American Sunday School Union: 

Sir: I have received through the Postoffice a certificate, 
signed by you, as Corresponding Secretary, by which it 
appears that I am appointed a Life Member of your Asso- 
ciation by the payment of fifty dollars by the Sunday School 
children of the Brick Church, Rochester, N. Y. 

This is an unexpected, and I fear an undeserved, com- 
pliment, so delicately and modestly conveyed that it could 
not fail to reach the heart. I therefore beg through you to 
make my grateful acknowledgments to the children for this 
valued token of their kind remembrance, and to assure them 
that I shall ever preserve it as a treasure from my young 
friends. I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Before the death of President Taylor, a Sunday school in Pennsylvania 
had raised a sum sufficient to constitute him a life member of the American 
Sunday School Union. Gen. Taylor acknowledged the compliment, and the 


incident had wide publicity. Soon after Mr. Fillmore succeeded to the Presi- 
dency, the Sunday school of the Brick Church at Rochester, N. Y., took similar 
action in his behalf. Mr. Fillmore's letter of acknowledgment, as above, was 
read to the Brick Church Sunday school, Nov. 10, 1850. 


Washington, November 2, 1850. 

My dear Sir : I owe you an apology for having so long 
delayed to acknowledge the receipt of those two beautiful 
engravings which you presented to "the Presidential Man- 
sion," but this agreeable duty has been postponed from time 
to time by the pressure of other engagements. — Learning 
however that you were about to leave town, I could not 
longer justify a delay in returning my thanks for what must 
hereafter be prized as precious ornaments of the House 
appropriated to the use of the Chief Magistrate. 

I also avail myself of the opportunity to express to you 
the high gratification which I enjoyed in examining the 
splendid series of Medals struck at various times by the 
French Government to commemorate great national events, 
which you presented to Congress. It will probably be many 
years, if not centuries, before this nation will be able to 
present so many memorials of victorious achievement. Our 
triumphs are triumphs of peace, and our conquests are con- 
quests of reason, which do not dazzle like those of arms, 
and are seldom commemorated by the medallic art. 

Wishing you all success in your noble enterprise of inter- 
national exchanges, and a safe return to your native land, I 
have the honor to be Yours tnUy 

Millard Fillmore 
Alexandre Vattemare, Esq. 

The nature of M. Vattemare's visit may be inferred from the foregoing. He 
undertook to establish an international exchange of medals, maps, books, natural 
history collections, etc. He was given free passage to France, carrying with 
him a hundred cases of books, charts, etc., as presents from the United States 
and the different States to the Government and various institutions of France. 
Among other gifts, he carried two grizzly bears, as presents from Col. Fremont 
to the National Museum of France. See, for some account of M. Vattemare's 
system of international exchanges, the New York Tribune, Sept. 16, 1847. 


the president's letter to robert collins, alleged owner 
of william and ellen craft, fugitive slaves. 

State Depart m ent 
Washington, Nov. 19, 1850. 

Robert Collins, Macon, Ga. 

Sir: I am instructed by the President to inform you that 
your letter of the 2d instant, addressed to him, enclosing 
several slips from newspapers in reference to proceedings 
of a portion of the community of Boston, on the subject of 
the Fugitive Slave law, was received by him yesterday, and 
that he has given to the letter and its enclosures careful 
perusal. You state in substance that you arc owner of 
Crafts, one of the fugitive slaves for whom warrants of 
arrest were issued in Boston, and call the President's atten- 
tion to the enclosed slips, taken mostly from Northern 
papers, by which he will perceive the manner in which your 
agents were received and treated for merely asking that the 
slaves be returned according to the laws of the United 
States — that they have been arrested under various war- 
rants as kidnappers, and on other frivolous pretentions, and 
unreasonable bail demanded and that your friends have be- 
come their sureties for more than $20,000. You also say 
that many cases in which officers have not performed their 
duty, will appear by the slips, and that warrants now lie 
dead in the marshal's office. You then speak of the per- 
nicious effect of such proceedings, and of their tendency to 
disturb the harmony of the Union, and of the great import- 
ance of having the law faithfully executed ; and, you, finally, 
enquire whether it is not in the power, and is not the inten- 
tion, of the Executive of the United States to cause that 
law to be faithfully and pioperly enforced. To this the 
President directs me to reply, that you cannot be more 
deeply impressed than he is with the importance of having 
every law faithfully executed. Every statute in this country 
passed in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution 
must be presumed to embody the will of a majority of the 
people of the Union, and as such is entitled to the respect 


and obedience of every true American citizen, — and the 
Constitution which the President has sworn to support has 
made it his especial duty to take care that the law^ be faith- 
fully executed. He has no thought of shrinking- from his 
duty in this or any other case, but will, to the utmost of his 
ability, firmly and faithfully perform it, but how is he to 
cause the laws to be executed? 

First, by appointing proper officers to fill the various 
offices, and discharge their various functions with diligence 
and fidelity — and if any shall be found incompetent or un- 
faithful, by removing them where he has the power of re- 
moval, and appointing more competent and faithful officers 
in their places — and secondly, in extreme cases, whenever 
the laws of the United States shall be opposed, or the exe- 
cution thereof be obstructed, in any State, by combinations 
too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of 
judicial proceedings, or by powers vested in civil officers, 
with powers which the law authorizes and requires them to 
call to their aid, it would be his duty to call forth the militia, 
and use the Army and Navy, for the purpose of overcoming 
such forcible combinations against the laws — but, in either 
case, prudence and justice require that there should be more 
satisfactory evidence of official delinquency or forcible re- 
sistance than mere rumor or newspaper statements, and yet 
these are all which have been furnished in this case. If any 
marshal neglects to perform his duty the law gives the right 
of action to the aggrieved party for the injury which he may 
sustain, and if he refuse to perform it the statute has im- 
posed upon him a severe penalty — but if he refuse or wil- 
fully neglect to perform it when this shall be satisfactorily 
made to appear to the President, then in addition to his lia- 
bility to the aggrieved party, it would doubtless be the duty 
of the Executive to remove him from office and appoint 
another in his place. 

But your letter contains no proof of this kind, and, there- 
fore, seems to require no action. It is equally clear that no 
case is presented justifying a call upon the militia or the 
use of the army to execute the laws ; and the President has 



so much confidence in the patriotism and devotion to the 
laws which have always characterized a large majority of 
the citizens of Boston, that he cannot for a moment believe 
that it will ever be necessary to call in any extraordinary aid 
to execute the laws in that city. Individuals may become 
excited, and may, in the heat of the moment, offer resistance 
to the laws, but he has no doubt that in such an event, so 
much to be regretted, the good sense of the community 
would soon rally to support the civil authorities, and that 
those sustaining the law would triumph ; but he directs me 
to assure you, that if unfortunately he should find nim^eM 
mistaken in this, and the painful necessity should arise, he 
should perform his duty by employing all the means which 
the Constitution and Congress have placed at his disposal 
to enforce the law. 

As to the complaint that your agents were unjustly per- 
secuted, and held to bail in unreasonable amounts, for pre- 
tended offences — the President directs me to say, that how- 
ever he may regret any such injustice and incivility, he is not 
aware that he has power to remedy the evil. If the com- 
plaints against your agent be unfounded, the defendants 
will, doubtless, be acquitted; and if malicious, they have 
their remedy in an action for a malicious prosecution. 

But all these are judicial questions, over which the Exec- 
utive can exercise no control, and the evil complained of 
results from the acknowledged rights of every individual to 
prosecute any one for an alleged offence or violation of 
right. It is important to avoid, as far as practicable, all 
causes of irritation, between the North and the South, and 
especially on the exciting subject of slavery. Were he per- 
mitted to advise, he would suggest to all the importance of 
permitting the laws to take their usual course, and that 
everything tending to intimidation or illegal or unjust an- 
noyance should be scrupulously avoided. Every effort 
should be made to cultivate a fraternal feeling. We should 
be a people of one interest and one sentiment — knowing no 
local division and tolerating no sectional injustice. Our 
Union, so dear to the heart of every true American, can 


only be preserved by a strict observance of the Constitution 
and impartial administration of the laws. 
I am, sir, respectfully your obd't servant 

W. S. Derrick, 

Acting Secretary. 

Though penned by a secretary, the above sets forth Mr. Fillmore's views, 
and was obviously written by the President's direction. 

William and Ellen Craft (not "Crafts") were slaves who fled from Georgia 
to Boston, whence they were followed by representatives of their Southern 
owner; but aided by Theodore Parker and others, they eluded the slave-catchers 
and escaped to England. On this, one of the most famous of the cases that 
embittered the abolitionists and arrayed them against President Fillmore, see, 
among countless narratives, the Liberator (Boston), Nov. i, 1S50; Still's 
"Underground Railroad," pp. 368-374; Wilson's "Rise and Fall of the Slave 
Power," vol. ii, p. 325; New England Magazine, Jan. 1890. 

on receipt of the most splendid coach. 

Washington, Nov. 2'/, 1850. 

My dear Mrs. Brooks: I have really been so busy in 
preparing for congress that I have neglected, not to say 
forgotten every thing else. I awakened from this abstrac- 
tion to-day by the reception from some unknown gentlemen 
of the most Splendid coach I have ever seen. The first 
thought was that it should be shown upon the Avenue, but 
alas, the livery coats are not here, and the carriage must not 
appear till all is complete. I think we will omit the pants 
for the present, and if you can send the coats by express you 
will greatly oblige 

Your friend 


Mail closing ! Adieu ! ! MS. owned by Mr. Geo. B. Richmond, New York City. 

Soon after Mr. Fillmore became President, his friends in New York pre- 
sented to Mrs. Fillmore a fine carriage and span of horses, which were used by 
the President and his family until the expiration of his term, when it became a 
Question what should be. done with so elegant an establishment. Mr. Fillmore 
thought his fortune did not justify him in living in a style suitable for the 
maintenance of such an equipage, nor was it conformable to his tastes and 
simple habits as a private citizen, that he should do so. The articles, too, were 
of a perishable nature, and must soon disappear; and as he desired to per- 


petuate the remembrance of so munificent a gift, he decided to sell the whole 
and expend the proceeds in the purchase of a set of plate. This was done, and 
the set, consisting of twelve pieces, was manufactured to order in New York 
and numbered from one to twelve inclusive. The principal article, a server, 
had the following inscription, and was intended to descend as an heirloom in 
his family "as an imperishable record of his gratitude": "The carriage and 
horses generously presented to Mrs. Millard Fillmore by the Citizens of New 
York in 1850, having been sold in 1853, the proceeds are invested in this set 
of plate as a perpetual memento of gratitude to the donor." The present 
whereabouts of this silver is not known to the editor. 


Washington City, Dec. I, 1850. 
William S. Stell, Esq., Manchester [Eng.]. 

My dear Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your kind letter of the 8th ult, through Mr. Randall 
expressing the hope that I may visit the World's Fair in 
London, in May next, and assuring me that if I do so I 
shall receive a cordial welcome from my countrymen in 
England, and tendering me the hospitalities of your own 
house whilst I remained in Manchester. 

Previous to the death of my lamented predecessor, I had 
anticipated the pleasure of visiting London at the time of the 
fair, but I deem it now impossible to leave my official duties 
here ; and your kind letter causes a still deeper regret at my 
disappointment. Were it possible for me to be absent for 
such a length of time, nothing could be more gratifying than 
to accept your proffered hospitalities. I well recollect meet- 
ing you and your lady in the fall of 1837, and should be 
extremely happy to renew the acquaintance. Independent 
of that, I have always felt a strong desire to visit Great 
Britain. Its soil is classic ground to me, and I should be 
most happy to be able to make a personal comparison be- 
tween the leading men of that country and my own, to see 
how far we have improved upon the political institutions of 
the mother country. But this must be deferred till a more 
convenient season. 


Accept my thanks for your kindness ; remember me most 
cordially to your lady, and believe me, truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Jan. 21, 1831. 


Washington, Dec. 21, 1850. 
Saturday evening, 9 o'clock. 

Dear Haven : The busy week is nearly ended, the last 
letter read — but not answered — and the last office-seeker 
politely bowed out of the room, and I seize the precious 
moment simply to say that T am very anxious that you and 
Mrs. Haven should come and make us a visit this winter. 
Do cornel — come directly to the White House. We have 
one spare room in this temple of inconveniences, neatly fitted 
up — and just the thing- for you and Mrs. H. So you must 
come. I have a thousand things to say to you that I cannot 
write, and we shall all be so delighted to see you — so come ! 
— come quickly, but if you cannot come quickly, come! And 
write the day you will be here, and my carriage shall meet 
you at the depot. But I cannot say more— another friend 
is waiting, so adieu! 

Mrs. F. joins me in kindest regards to yourself and 
Mrs. H. 

Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Miss Ida Haven, Buffalo. 


■ Washington, D. C, Jan. 13, 1851. 
Rev. J. C. Lord, 

My dear Sir : "The cares of state" leave me no time for 
general reading, and it was not till this evening, that I found 
leisure to peruse your admirable sermon on the "Higher 




u o 

-J o 

5 z 

< s 


Law and Fugitive Slave Bill." I return you my thanks, 
most cordially and sincerely, for this admirable discourse. 
You have rendered the nation a great and valuable service, 
and I am highly gratified to learn, that thousands and tens 
of thousands have been reprinted in New York, and sent 
here, and are now being distributed under the franks of 
members of Congress. It cannot fail to do good. It reaches 
a class of people of excellent intentions, but somewhat 
bigoted prejudices, who could be reached in no other way. 
Again I thank you for the service you have done my coun- 
try, and am 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

This letter was occasioned by Dr. Lord's Thanksgiving sermon in 1850, 
"On the Higher Law as applicable to the Fugitive Slave Bill." Based on the 
theory that human governments are a divine institution, Dr. Lord argued the 
sovereignty of human lav as the reflex of divine law. Mr. Seward, it will be 
recalled, in a speech in the Senate resisting the fugitive slave law, had formu- 
lated the phrase, "There is a higher law than the. Constitution." Dr. Lord on 
the other hand, laid down the formula: "The action or the civil governments, 
within their appropriate jurisdiction, is final and conclusive upon the citizen," 
and on the doctrines of the New Testament he based the theory of entire sub- 
jection to civil authority. These views never had a more brilliant advocacy, 
and the sermon gave to Dr. Lord a national reputation. By some he was 
looked to as a seer and a prophet, by others he was denounced as "an apostate 
from the principles of liberty." Mr. Webster, in a speech at Syracuse in 1851, 
defending his own seventh of March speech in the Senate, said: "They de- 
nounce me as a fit associate of Benedict Arnold and Professor Stuart and Dr. 
Lord. I would be glad to strike out Benedict Arnold; as for the rest, I am 
proud of their company." Ten years later Dr. Lord, like most of those in the 
North who had shared his views, became an earnest upholder of the L^nion. 
Perhaps with no change of principles, there was a radical change in the con- 
clusions arrived at under the new conditions of secession. 


Washington, Feb. 15, 1851. 

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
favor of the nth inst. acquainting me with the fact of my 
election as an Honorary Member of the "Clay Literary 
Society of Philadelphia/' for which compliment I beg you 
will return my acknowledgments to the Society. 


With the best wishes for the prosperity of your Society, T 
have the honor to remain 

Truly Your Obt. Servt. 
James S. Whitney, Esq. Millard Fillmore 


MS. collections, Chicago Historical Society. 


Washington, February 17, 1851. 

Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your kind letter, informing me that the Union 
Safety Committee intended to unite with their fellow citi- 
zens in celebrating the anniversary of Washington's birth- 
day, and inviting me to participate in the festivities. Many 
considerations would tempt me to accept this flattering invi- 
tation, did not my official duties compel me to decline it. 

Nothing could be more gratifying than to meet my old 
friends in your enterprising city. Their uniform kindness 
has laid me under many obligations, and the noble stand 
which they have taken in support of the laws of the Union, 
is deserving of the highest commendations. 

It appears to me, too, that the Birthday of Washington is 
deserving of every honor which the Americans can bestow 
upon it. It is now more than half a century since the grave 
closed over all that was mortal of this illustrious man ; but 
his voice still speaks from the tomb. His paternal advice 
still sounds in our ears, and his far seeing wisdom still warns 
us of our danger. How truly prophetic is that paragraph in 
his Farewell Address, in which he says: 

"In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it 
occurs as a matter of serious concern, that any ground should have 
been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discrimina- 
tions — Northern and Southern — Atlantic and Western — whence 
designing men may endeavor to excite the belief that there is a real 
difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of 
party to acquire influence within particular districts is, to misrepre- 
sent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield 


yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which 
spring from these misrepresentations. They tend to render alien 
to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal 

Who can doubt that his calm contemplative mind looked 
down the long vista of coming years, and saw in the distance 
that "designing men" would sow sectional jealousies for 
selfish objects which might destroy that Union which lie 
loved so well, and which he justly regarded as the very 
palladium of our liberties and national prosperity. 

But this illustrious patriot taught quite as much by his 
example as his precept. He was blessed by nature with a 
vigorous constitution and a well-balanced and discrimin- 
ating mind. Not brilliant, but singularly calm and prac- 
tical. His judgment was never clouded by prejudice or 
disturbed by passion. With a never failing trust in an over- 
ruling Providence; he never doubted that a righteous cause 
must succeed ; and with a self-reliance, which nothing could 
give but a disinterested devotion to his country, and a firm 
resolve — if necessary — to offer himself upon its altar, he 
proved himself the prudent, brave and victorious General, 
and the wise and sagacious Statesman. He never sought 
office, but when conferred, he devoted soul and body to the 
performance of his duties. He shrunk from no labor, or 
sacrifice, and whenever his services could be dispensed with, 
he voluntarily resigned the high trusts with which he w r as 
invested, and without a regret, retired to private life. It is 
truly refreshing to contemplate such a character, and slake 
one's thirst from so pure a fountain of patriotism. 

But I have said more than I intended, and must close by 
returning my thanks for your invitation, and expressing the 
hope that so far from weakening, the recent agitations may 
strengthen the bonds of Union ; that every sectional jealousy 
may be dispelled ; that every constitutional right may be held 
sacred and inviolate, and that our glorious Union may be as 
enduring as the fame of the immortal Washington. 

I have the honor to be, your friend and fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 



Washington, March 28, 1851 . 

Sir: I sincerely regret that the fact of your papers hav- 
ing been mislaid has prevented me until now, from comply- 
ing' with the request contained in your letter, to return them 
to you. Several searches had been made for them which 
proved unsuccessful. They have however at last come to 
light having been found amongst some other papers, and I 
hasten to enclose them immediately, as I now do to your 
address. Mr. Lanman who is the librarian of the War 
Department, purchased the books for the Ex. Mansion with- 
out any charge whatever, except the payment of his neces- 
sary expenses. I am therefore surprised ?t what you say 
in your letter in regard to the books having been ordered at 
20 pr. ct. discount from the price they were offered by you, 
as the bill was paid to Messrs Bartlett & Welford, and the 
price at which the Reviews were charged amounted to some- 
thing over one dollar from the prices they were offered by 
you, and for which a receipt from yourself to Messrs 
Bartlett & Welford was furnished. I should like therefore 
to know if there is any fraud in the case or if you gave a 
receipt for more than was paid you. It certainly was not 
my intention to allow any middleman to make a percentage 
on the purchases. I should rather have given it directly 
to you. 

Yours truly, 

Millard Fillmore. 

MS. collections, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addresses lacking. 


The Legislature of the State of New York directed the 
preparation and presentation of an appropriate tablet for the 
Washington National monument. In March, 185 1, the 
Governor of the State, Washington Hunt, wrote to Presi- 


dent Fillmore that the tablet was ready. It contained but 
the simple coat of arms of New York. In a long- letter the 
Governor enlarges upon the significance of the tribute from 
the Empire State and upon the noble character of the 
National monument. The tablet and letter were delivered 
to President Fillmore, who received them in his capacity as 
President ex-dfficio of the Washington Monument Associa- 
tion. Replying to Governor Hunt, he acknowledged the 
contribution of New York in the following letter : 

Washington, April 7, 1851. 

Sir: As President ex-offlcio of the ''Washington Na- 
tional Monument Association" I have the honor to acknowl- 
edge the receipt of your eloquent and patriotic letter of the 
22(1 ultimo, by the hand of your military aid, Col. Robert Ii. 
Morris, and to inform you that the "Tablet" of which he 
was the bearer, designed by the State of New York for the 
Washington National Monument, was this day presented by 
him to the Board of Directors. 

I feel myself singularly fortunate in being the honored 
recipient on behalf of the Association of this appropriate 
contribution from my native State to this noble enterprise. 
Often as I look from my window at this proud monument 
rearing its lofty head to the clouds, the inquiry suggests 
itself — Why raise this massive pile to the honor of Wash- 
ington? Can it add to his fame? Is it necessary to per- 
petuate his memory? No, neither. His fame is imperish- 
able, and his memory will endure when this marble pile 
shall have crumbled to dust. This splendid monument is 
not reared that future generations may know that Washing- 
ton lived ; but that they may know that his fellow-citizens 
appreciated his worth, and were deeply grateful for the 
inestimable blessings which he conferred upon the country. 
It is not, therefore, so much of a monument to the memory 
of Washington as it is of the gratitude of his countrymen ; 
and in this noble emulation it gives me infinite pleasure to 


see my own beloved State inscribing her noble motto 
"Excelsior" upon the marble pile of a Nation's gratitude. 
I have the honor to be your Excellency's 

Most ob't serv't 

Millard Fillmore. 


[Washington], May 8, 1851. 

. . . I feel that rny first duty is due to the country ; 
and to this I am bound to sacrifice every consideration of 
personal convenience and pleasure. I trust the storm which 
threatened to overwhelm the Government, and array section 
against section, and brother against brother, in treasonable 
and fratricidal strife, has passed away. But the waters are 
still agitated, and it will take some time for the elements to 

I have also just accepted an invitation to attend the cele- 
bration of the opening of the New York & Erie Railroad, 
but I feel that I cannot with propriety be absent longer at 
this time than is indispensable to accomplish that object. 
Under all the circumstances 1 can only say that I shall still 
hope to be able to visit your beautiful and nourishing city 
during the summer. But at what time I cannot now 
say. . . . 

[Millard Fillmore] 


Washington, June 9, 185 1. 

Hon. Francis Brinley, President of the Common Council 
of the City of Boston: 
Sir: When I had the pleasure of meeting you and your 
associates of the Committee of Boston, in New York, and 
you did me the honor of inviting me to visit your city, and 
kindly tendered me, on behalf of the Common Council, its 


hospitalities, I fondly hoped that I should be able during the 
present month to accept your invitation. But I regret to 
say that I find it inconsistent with what 1 deem my public 
duty to indulge in this gratification ; and, therefore, while I 
am profoundly grateful for the distinguished honor implied 
by the invitation, I feel reluctantly compelled to decline it. 

My personal acquaintance in your city is but slight, but 
slight as it has been, it has left many pleasant recollections, 
and I should have been extremely happy to have renewed 
and extended it at this time. I have long entertained a high 
respect for the intelligence and patriotism of the great mass 
of your citizens; and recent events have not impaired that 
respect. You have been, and I trust ever will be, a law- 
loving and a law-abiding people. I know that your devo- 
tion to this great principle has had a severe test in your 
recent efforts to execute the law for the return of fugitive 
slaves. Slavery, in any form, is repugnant to your feelings 
and education, and the fugitive naturally and inevitably 
excites your deepest sympathies. Nothing but a stern sense 
of duty, founded upon a rational, solemn conviction, that a 
constitutional and legal obligation must be obeyed, at any 
and every sacrifice, could have insured the execution of a 
law in a case like this. But, for myself, I never doubted 
that the law would ultimately triumph. Good faith is the 
foundation of all morality and all social security. The free 
states had pledged themselves by the Constitution to the 
performance of this duty. The slave states had a right to 
insist, and did insist upon its performance. There was, then, 
no alternative but to break our faith, forfeit our word of 
honor, and thereby trample the Constitution of our country 
in the dust, and run the hazards of a civil war ; or else to 
admit the obligation like honest, true-hearted men, and do 
all in our power to comply with it — still hoping and trusting 
that in due time some mode would be devised by those who 
have the constitutional power to abolish slavery, and who 
are most deeply interested in its final extinction — to get rid 
of the evil without destroying the fairest fabric of freedom 
that mortal hands have ever raised — and in its ruins extin- 


guishing the last hope of humanity for self-government. 
Permit me to say that this government has cost Boston too 
much to be given up or hazarded for slight or trivial causes. 
Some of the patriots of the Revolution still linger among 
you — and the monumental pillar of your grateful recollec- 
tion of the heroes who fell at Bunker Hill, would seem to 1 c 
a mockery, if their sons could so soon forget that this Con- 
stitution cost the heart's blood of their sires. 

That your citizens have acted wisely and patriotically in 
sustaining the law, I cannot doubt. Their conduct has been 
governed by the highest sense of moral and political obli- 
gation ; and for this noble example, I feel constrained, as 
the Chief Magistrate, whose especial duty it is to see that 
the laws are faithfully executed, to return the citizens of 
Boston my warmest acknowledgments; and I should have 
been most happy to have done this in person were it con- 
sistent with my official engagements to leave this city. 

With many thanks to you, and through you to the citi- 
zens of Boston, for this kind invitation, 

I have the honor to be, 

Your friend and fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore 

The "recent events" alluded to in the foregoing letter were the riotous 
seizure of the fugitive slave Shadrach from the custody of officers, by a mob, 
the leaders of which hurried him off to Canada. This was in February, 1851. 
/his letter had wide newspaper publication. 


Washington, June 20, 185 1. 
Hon. T. C. Love. 

My dear Sir: Your favor of the 17th inst. came to hand 
this morning, and as I am preparing to leave town tomorrow 
morning I am too busy to give it an extended reply. You 
say you have been informed from a source which you are 
hardly permitted to question, that I, as President of the 
United States, had ordered the supplemental award, so 




"'- ! .. . 


Struck for Distribution to Prominent Indian Chiefs During His Administration. 

From Original*-, Sizes as Shown, Owned by thc Buffalo 

Historical Society-. 


called, got up by the proprietors of the Tonawanda Reserva- 
tion in 1848, to be admitted to the files of the Department 
of the Interior; and that 1 had also ordered that the money 
which that award purports to distribute among the owners 
of improvements on that reservation, should be tendered 
and offered to them individually. You then ask if your 
information is correct. 

I answer, No, Sir. I have given no order at any time for 
the filing of that award in any department. Since the re- 
ceipt of your letter I have called upon the Secretary of the 
Interior, who informs me that the award has never been 
filed in his office or department. I have also called upon the 
Secretary of War, who informs me that application was 
made to file it in his office and he took the opinion of the 
attorney general, and permitted it to be deposited in his 
department, and he made upon it a certain endorsement. I 
requested him to send up a copy of the attorney general's 
opinion and his endorsement, and if they come before the 
mail closes I will send them with this. 

I was applied to, and requested to order this award filed, 
but on examination I concluded that I had nothing to do 
with it. that the whole power was with the secretary and I 
declined interfering. 

In reference to the payment of the money, I have made 
no order yet, but it having been represented to me that there 
are individuals, who are willing to receive their pay and 
give up their improvements pursuant to the treaty of 1842, 
I propose to appoint an agent with whom I shall deposit the 
fund which I hold for that purpose, with directions to pay 
to such as are willing to receive it on such conditions. But 
I deem it no part of my duty to make any "tender" or 
"offer of payment," beyond this. But the money, in the 
language of the treaty, has been "paid to the President of 
the United States to be distributed among the. owners of the 
land improvements" and I intend by this to discharge the 
duty imposed upon me by the treaty, and leave the respec- 
tive parties to their legal remedies. This I suppose has 
been the intention of the Secretarv of War, and I have no 


reason to doubt that he has acted in accordance with his 
duty. I am in great haste, 

Your obdt ser't 

Millard Fillmore 

MS. collections, Buffalo Historical Society. 


Washington City, Sept. 30, 185 1. 
Jno. S. Jenkins, Esq., 

My dear Sir: Your note of the 24th inst., informing 
me that you had clone me the honor to forward to me a copy 
of your "Lives of the Governors of New York," J came to 
hand on the 26th, hut the book did not arrive until yesterday. 

I have availed myself of a few leisure moments to dip 
into the work, and have been both interested and instructed 
and consider it a valuable contribution to the history of my 
own State. It appears to me that you have executed the 
difficult task of drawing the moral lineaments of the charac- 
ters of the several distinguished men that have filled that 
high office with great success, and I beg to return you my 
sincere thanks for the honor you have done me in presenting 
to me the copy. 

I am your obedient servant 

Millard Fillmore 


Washington City (D. C), Oct. 21, 1851. 

My dear Sir: Your letter of the 8th ultimo, came to 
hand a few days since, and I was gratified to learn that 
your weary pilgrimage had at last come to an end, and that 
you had found a resting-place, and I trust an asylum, in the 
new but fertile State of Iowa. 

1. "Lives of the Governors of the State of New York," a popular work in 
its day, published a t Auburn, N. Y., by Derby & Miller (8vo. pp. 8j6, ill.). 
The author wrote also a "History of the War with Mexico," and a "Political 
History of New York." 


Accept my sinccrest thanks for your kind congratulations 
at my unexpected elevation to the Presidency. When I met 
you here, I never expected to occupy this position. A pain- 
ful dispensation of Providence has, how ever, cast upon me 
the burden and responsibility of this distinguished station, 
but whether for honor or dishonor, or for weal or wo, time 
alone can determine. You have seen enough of the cares 
and uncertainty of official life to appreciate its labors and 
its instability. I look forward for my reward, whatever 
may be the result, only in the consciousness of an honest en- 
deavor to discharge my duty faithfully and impartially to 
my whole country. That being done, its destiny is in the 
hands of the Supreme Arbiter of human affairs, in whose 
justice and mercy I have the most abiding confidence. 

Though we make it an invariable rule, as a nation, not to 
interfere in foreign wars, yet our people feel a deep sym- 
pathy for the oppressed everywhere, and are ready to extend 
a liberal hand to those who suffer in the cause of freedom. 
I cannot doubt, therefore, that Congress will deal generously 
with the Hungarians who have sacrificed all for independ- 
ence and freedom, and are now exiles in a strange land. 

1 am gratified to hear that you receive communications 
from the noble and gallant Kossuth. I shall always be most 
happy to hear of his health and prosperity, and to receive 
through you any communication intended for me, or for the 
American government. 

With my sincere prayers for your health and prosperity, 
and for the health and prosperity of your associates, 

I remain your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore. 

To Ladislaus IJihazy, the Hungarian Exile. 

New Buda, Thompson's River, Decatur county j Iowa. 

One of Kossuth's compatriots, Ladislaus Ujbazy, settled in the summer of 
1850 at New Buda, Decatur County, Iowa. In the fall of that year, he wrote 
to President Fillmore, in French, narrating the experience of himself and other 
Hungarian exiles who had settled in Iowa. lie had received a letter from Louis 
Kossuth and it was in order, he said, to lay it before the President that he took 
the liberty of writing. President Fillmore's reply is given above. Postmaster- 
General Hall appointed this one-time Hungarian governor, to be postmaster at 



New Buda; among Judge Hall's papers in the possession of the Buffalo : : < 
toxical Society is an interesting letter, in English, from ex-Governor UjbuLiy, 
expressing his gratitude for the appointment. 

"liberia to america." 

Executive Mansion, Nov. 12, 185 1. 
Rev. Mr. Gurley 

Dr. Sir: 1 received the enclosed poetical appeal from 
"Liberia to Anierica" from its talented author and I have 
kept it some time, in hopes of seeing you that I might hand 
it to you for insertion in your paper, to which it appears to 
me properly to belong. 

I am your obt. servt. 

Millard Fillmore 

Dreer collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Phinea?; Densmore Gurley was a prominent Presbyterian minister who held 
pastorates in Indianapolis, Ind., Dayton, O., and Washington. In 1S59 he was 
appointed chaplain of the United States Senate. He was present at the death- 
bed of Lincoln, and preached his funeral sermon. He died in Washington, 
Sept. 30, 1868. 

to an autograph collector. 

Executive Chamber 
Washington, Dec. 15, 185 1. 

N. W. N. Osborne, Esq. 

Sir: In compliance with your request I have the honor 
to send my autograph. Your obt. servt. 

Millard Fillmore 

MS. collections, Albany Institute, Albany, N. Y. 


Washington, February 21, 1852. 

Hon, Geo. R. Babcock 

My dear Sir : I send you the Blue Book by this mail. 

May I trouble you to obtain for me the "Red Book" and 
mark the political character of each Senator and Represen- 


tative, and forward it to me, with any expense you may- 
incur and I will cheerfully remit the amount. 

Can N. Y. be carried for any whig candidate for presi- 
dent and if so for whom? I desire this frankly and con- 

I am in great haste 

Your obt serv't 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily B. Alward, Buffalo. 

to mrs. james brooks. 

Executive Chamber, Washington City, 

March 18, 1S52. 
My dear Mrs. Brooks : As often as you have reminded 
me of my neglect to comply with your request for an auto- 
graph for your friend, I have felt mortified and pained at 
my forgetf ulness ; but really your note, reminding me of 
my delinquencies, is so very kind that I now feel as though 
I should have lost much if I had done my duty more 

I therefore cheerfully redeem my promise to send an 
autograph, and with it the kindest regards and most sincere 
respect of Your friend, 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Geo. H. Richmond, New York City. 

case of general talcott. 

Washington City, March 26, 1852. 
Hon. James Brooks, 

My dear Sir: I have your note, inclosing a letter from 
S. V. Talcott, asking that a nomination for a successor to 
his father, General Talcott, should be delayed, until the next 
session of Congress, which letter I herewith return. It is a 
letter by a son pleading for his father, and that alone pre- 
vents my noticing some imputations and insinuations which 
it contains. I may, however, remark, that, I had no agency 



in procuring- the conviction of bis father, and that the solemn 
duty of passing upon the case, by approving- the proceedings 
of the Court, was to me a very painful one. My social rela- 
tions with him and his family had been of the most kindly 
and agreeable nature, and I have recently consented to the 
appointment of his brother to a very important and lucrative 
employment, to run the boundary line of Iowa. I cannot, of 
course, hope to escape censure from interested partisans or 
friends, but, it would be well that they should recollect, that 
I was not the Judge of General Talcott; that he had a fair 
trial by his peers, — men either without political bias or sym- 
pathising with him, at least, in the honor and welfare of the 
army; and, that, after a patient hearing, there was an unani- 
mous condemnation, with but one voice even for mercy. 
Why, then, should bad motives be imputed to me, merely 
because I have not seen lit to set aside, or disregard the 
decision of such a tribunal? But, it is due to myself, to say, 
that, from a tender regard for General Talcott and his 
friends, I took the trouble, amidst the labors and confusion 
of official toil, to read through the able argument in his 
favor, by Mr. Spencer, and regretted extremely, that I did 
not feel justified in coming to the same conclusion that he 
had done. But, I have said enough, and more than I in- 
tended, on this subject. The request which you make comes 
too late. I see by my books that Col. Craig was nominated 
to fill the vacancy occasioned bythe removal of Genl Talcott 
on the 19th of December last. I do not know whether the 
Senate have acted upon it or not ; if they have, it has escaped 
my recollection. 1 am your obedt servt 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by J. M. Fox, Philadelphia. 


Washington City, March 31st, 1852. 
H. G. Somerby, Esq. 

Sir: Your note of the 9th inst came duly to hand, re- 
questing the pedigree of my family. Little, T believe, is 


known of the genealogy of the Fillmores, as the family has 
been quite too obscure to make it an object to trace its pedi- 
gree. I know nothing beyond my great grand father John 
Fillmore, who was a native of Ipswich, Massachusetts. It 
is not improbable, that the name in English was spelt Phille- 
more, or possibly Filmer, but I have never thought it worth 
the trouble of an investigation. I, however, in compliance 
with your request, send a brief biography, which has been 
published, of myself, which contains all I know of my pedi- 

I have the honor to be 

Your obedt. servt. 

Millard Fillmore 

MS. collections, Massachusetts Historical Society. 


My dear Mr. Brooks: I have your note reminding me 
of my promise to attend your daughter Kate's Fancy Ball 
this evening; and regret extremely to say that I have been 
confined to my room for three days by a severe cold, which 
will deprive me of the anticipated pleasure. 
I am truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 
April 15. [?i8 5 2] 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Geo. H. Richmond, New York City. 


Washington City, May 24th, 1852. 
[To Hon. James Brooks] 

My dear Sir: You inquire of me, what were the cir- 
cumstances, in reference to the declaration made by Senator 
Pratt in the Senate, on the subject of my views as to the 
Compromise Bill while I was presiding officer of that body. 
1 was informed by Senator Pratt, that a rumor had been 


circulated in the Senate, that, while the Compromise Bill 
was pending there, and 1 was the presiding officer, and there 
seemed to be some probability that it might eventually be 
decided by my casting vote, I had determined to vote against 
it, and had prepared a speech, or argument, to be delivered 
on the occasion, in justification of the vote which I had in- 
tended to give, and that I had shown this speech or argu- 
ment to several of my friends, and consulted them on the 
subject. To this I replied, that it was not true. I said, that 
I had never prepared such a speech, or shown such an one to 
any person, and that the only address which I have ever pre- 
pared for the Senate, except the one on taking the oath of 
office, was in reference to my duties as the presiding officer 
of the body in maintaining order, and that was read to the 
Senate and entered upon its journals ; and on his inquiry if 
he was at liberty to make this known, I told him that he was, 
whenever and wherever he pleased. I do not know how 
this rumor got into circulation, but I apprehend it must 
have arisen from some casual remarks I may have dropped, 
or from some effort I may have made to support the Admin- 
istration of General Taylor, before the Compromise Bill 
was reported. But after this Bill was reported, and 
especially after it became probable that I might be called 
upon to give the casting vote, I purposely avoided express- 
ing any opinion on the subject, and endeavored, as far as 
possible, to hold my judgment in suspense until the Bill 
should be perfected, that I might then judge what was my 
duty in voting for or against it. It will be seen by looking 
at the journals, that I left the chair on the 6th of May. The 
Compromise Bill was reported on the 8th, during my ab- 
sence at Buffalo, and I did not resume the chair again until 
the 20th of May. I have looked through my confidential 
correspondence and find no other allusions to the subject of 
the course I intended to pursue than the following: 

On the i8th of June, in writing confidentially to a friend, 
I said : "I think the Compromise Bill will pass the Senate, 
but it may come to my casting vote — as to that — Quaere? 
I shall wait till I see what shape it assumes before I deter- 
mine to say "yea" or "nay"["] 


On the 7th of July, in writing to the same person, I made- 
use of the following language: "I perceive the papers are 
discussing the probability of my casting vote on the Com- 
promise. 'Of that knowcth no man' I think it never will 
be given, but if it is, it will be for what I think right upon 
the whole, regardless of all personal consequences. I have 
nothing to gain or lose, but in the independent and faithful 
discharge of my duty, regardless of demagogues, North or 

About this time I recollect having a conversation with 
Gen'l Taylor, in which J said to him in substance, that> 
from present appearances, I might be called upon to give a 
casting vote in the Senate on the Compromise Bill, and if 
I should feel it my duty to vote for it, as I might, I wished 
him to understand, that it was not out of any hostility to 
hirn or his Administration, but the vote would be given, be- 
cause I deemed it for the interests of the country. I have 
no recollection of having any conversation with any other 
person in reference to the Bill, or of having expressed an 
opinion to any one that I should vote for or against it. Of 
course I cannot be presumed to recollect all I may have said 
to any one. I was anxious, before the Bill was introduced, 
to see the measure tried, recommended by the Administra- 
tion, thinking, if it failed, we would be then more likely to 
harmonize upon some other measure; but after the Compro- 
mise Bill was introduced, and when it became apparent that 
that measure had got to be adopted, or none, I ceased any 
efforts to have, the measure recommended by the President 
brought under consideration, and awaited the progress of 
the Senate in the perfection of the Compromise to determine 
my own duty in voting for or against it. From the report 
that I have seen of Senator Pratt's speech he went farther 
than I intended in what I said to him, and 1 have been in- 
tending for some days to see him, but have been so busy 
that I have neglected it. These are however the facts in 
reference to it, and if you desire to say anything on the sub- 
ject, you can rely upon them, but I do not think it would be 
advisable to go into all the details which I have stated and I 


Whig, the compromise measures of 1850 brought him into the Democratic party. 
For many years he was one of Mr. Fillmore's close friends. 


. In 1852, Mr. Fillmore's political opponents represented 
that he was exceedingly eager of the Whig Presidential 
nomination, and that, moreover, he was making use of the 
influence of his high office to secure it. Probably no man 
has ever figured in American public life who was freer from 
this sort of political guile than Mr. Fillmore. So persistent, 
however, were the attacks that he found it advisable to ad- 
dress to the president of the National Whig Convention a 
very full statement of his position and views. It is, perhaps, 
one of the most significant and important documents of his 
entire political career. The letter follows: 

Washington, June 10th, 1852. 

To the President of the National Whig Convention: 

Sir : This communication will be presented to you and 
through you, to the delegated wisdom of the Whig party 
over which you preside, by the Hon. George R. Babcock, 
who represents in your body the Congressional district in 
which I reside. 

I shall trust that I shall be pardoned by the Convention 
for adverting briefly to the course which I have pursued, 
and the causes which have induced it, as a means of ex- 
plaining why I have selected this time and mode of making 
this annunciation. 

desire you to see Mr. Pratt, or that you would, before you 
say anything on the subject. 

I am your obt servt 

Millard Fillmore 
Hon. James Brooks. 

MS. collections, Buffalo Historical Society. 

James Brooks — distinguished for many services, especially as editor, author, 
and politician — was at this time a Representative in Congress. Formerly a 


All must recollect that when I was so suddenly and unex- 
pectedly called to the exalted station which I now occupy, 
by the death of my lamented and illustrious predecessor, 
there was a crisis in our public affairs full of difficulty and 
danger. The country was agitated by political and sectional 
passions and dissensions, growing out of the slavery and 
territorial questions then pending, and for which Congress 
has as yet been able to agree upon no measure of compro- 
mise and adjustment. 

The Union itself was threatened with dissolution and 
patriots and statesmen looked with apprehension to the fu- 
ture. In that feeling I participated most profoundly. The 
difficulties and dangers which surrounded us were calmly 
but anxiously surveyed. I was oppressed by a sense of the 
great responsibilities that rested upon me, and sincerely dis- 
trusted my ability to sustain them in a manner satisfactory 
and useful to the country. But I was bound to make the 
attempt, and to do it with any hope of success, I felt it 
necessary to discard every personal consideration, and de- 
vote myself to the difficult task before me with entire single- 
ness of heart. 

To prepare and strengthen myself for this task I endeav- 
ored to lay aside, as far as practicable, every merely selfish 
consideration — to banish from my mind every local or sec- 
tional prejudice — and to remember only that I was an 
American citizen, and the Magistrate of the American Re- 
public, bound to regard every portion and section of it with 
equal justice and impartiality. That I might do this the 
more effectually. I resolved within myself not to seek a re- 

Thus prepared, I entered upon the discharge of my offi- 
cial duties, with a determination to do everything in my 
power to aid in the settlement of those dangerous contro- 
versies. Fortunately for our favored country, a majority in 
both Houses of Congress, rising above mere party and per- 
sonal considerations, nobly and patriotically devoted them- 
selves to the great work of pacification. The constitutional 
advisers whom I had called to my aid, and to whose fidelity, 
talents and patriotism the country is chiefly indebted for any 


benefit it may have received from my administration, with 
a unanimity and zeal worthy of every commendation, cor- 
dially gave their countenance and influence to the legislative 
department, in perfecting and adopting those healing meas- 
ures of Compromise, to which upon their passage I felt 
bound, by every consideration of public duty, to give my 
official approval. These laws being enacted, my constitu- 
tional duty was equally plain to "take care that they were 
faithfully executed." But this I found the most painful of 
all my official duties. Nevertheless, I resolved to perform it, 
regardless of all consequences to myself ; and in doing so, 
I determined to know no North and no South — and no 
friends but those who sustained the Constitution and laws, — 
and no enemies but those who opposed them. 

The gratifying result of this policy is before you and the 
country. The angry strife which for a time threatened to 
array State against State, and brother against brother, and 
deluge our happy land with fraternal blood, and desolate it 
with fire and sword, has fortunately passed away. The 
surging billows of sectional agitation are calmed, and the 
public mind is fast settling down into its accustomed chan- 
nels, and will soon renew its wonted devotion to the Consti- 
tution and the Union. 

Availing myself of this happy change, I had determined, 
when the present Congress met, to announce to the public, 
in my annual message my previous resolution not to suffer 
my name to come before the National Convention for a 
nomination. I accordingly prepared a paragraph to that 
effect, but was persuaded to strike it out lest it might have 
an unfavorable influence upon the then pending election in 
Virginia. After that had passed, I concluded to withdraw 
my name by a published address to the people, and prepared 
one accordingly, but this coming to the knowledge of some 
of my friends, they represented to me that my withdrawal, 
at that time, would not only endanger the perpetuity of those 
measures that I deemed so essential to the peace and welfare 
of the country, but would sacrifice many friends who had 
stood by my administration in the dark and perilous crisis 
through which it had so recently passed. The first was an 


appeal to my patriotism, and the second to my gratitude. 1 
could resist neither, and therefore yielded to their request, 
and consented that my name should remain where it was, 
until time should show, as I presumed it would, that its 
further use could neither benefit them nor the cause which 
we all had so much at heart. It was, however, distinctly 
understood that I could not consent to any efforts to procure 
a nomination, but if one were freely and voluntarily ten- 
dered, I should not be at liberty to decline it. 

The embarrassing question now presents itself, who is to 
determine when the use of my name can no longer benefit 
my friends or our common cause? To assume to decide this 
myself, in advance of the Convention, without consultation 
with those who have so generously sustained me, might be 
deemed by them unjust. To consult them is utterly imprac- 
ticable, and to suffer my name to go into a contest for the 
nomination is contrary to my original intention and utterly 
repugnant to my feelings. I have therefore, without con- 
sultation with any one, felt justified in assuming the respon- 
sibility of authorizing and requesting Mr. Babcock, either 
before or after any vote may be taken in the Convention, 
and whenever he shall be satisfied that I have discharged my 
duty to my friends and the country, to present this letter, 
and withdraw my name from the consideration of the Con- 

I trust that my friends will appreciate the necessity 
which compels me to act without consulting them. I would 
cheerfully make any personal sacrifice for their sakes or for 
the good of my country, but I have nothing to ask for my- 
self. I yielded with sincere reluctance to their entreaties to 
suffer my name to remain before the public as a possible 
candidate. I knew that it placed me in a false position. I 
foresaw that it would subject me to the base imputation of 
seeking a nomination, and of using the patronage of the 
Government to obtain it, and then to the mortifying taunts 
from the same malignant source of having been defeated. 
But conscious of my own integrity, I cheerfully consented 
to encounter all this, rather than that my friends should feel 
that I was indifferent, either to them or the cause, and I am 


most happy to avail myself of this occasion to return my 
sincere thanks, and to express the grateful emotions of my 
heart, to those friends of the country who have so generously 
and so nobly stood by the Constitution and the Union, dur- 
ing the perilous scenes through which we have just passed. 
My sincere prayer is, that their country may cherish and 
rew r ard them according to their merits. 

I hope and trust that my withdrawal may enable the Con- 
vention to unite harmoniously upon some more deserving 
candidate; one who, if elected, may be more successful in 
winning and retaining the confidence of the party to which 
he is attached, than I have been. Divided as we were upon 
my accession to the Presidency, on questions of vital im- 
portance, it was impossible for me to pursue a course which 
would satisfy all. I have not attempted it. I have sought 
more anxiously to do what was right than what would 
please ; and I shall feel no disappointment at finding that 
my conduct has, in the estimation of a majority of the Con- 
vention, rendered me an unavailable candidate. But it 
should at all times be a subject of felicitation to any man 
that he has been enabled to serve his country by sacrificing 
himself. This is a consequence which neither he nor his 
friends have any cause to regret ; and I hope mine will view 
it in that light. 

For myself, permit me to acid. I have no further aspira- 
tions. I feel that I have enjoyed much more of public hon- 
ors than I deserved, and I shall soon retire from this exalted 
station with infinitely more satisfaction than I entered upon 
it, and with a heart grateful for the confidence which my 
countrymen have reposed in me — grateful for the indul- 
gence with which they have received my humble efforts to 
serve them, and anxious only that they may be better served 
by my successor, and that our glorious Union and free in- 
stitutions may be perpetual. 

I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your fellow-citizen, and ob't serv't, 

Millard Fillmore 

The above letter was presented to the convention through the Hon. George 
R. Babcock, to whom the following personal letter was sent by Mr. Fillmore: 



Washington City, June 12, 1852. 

My dear Sir: To you as a personal and political friend, 
representing my old Congressional District, which has never 
deserted or betrayed me, I desire now to make a last request, 
and that is, that you present to the presiding officer of the 
Convention for nominating candidates for President and 
Vice President, whenever you may deem it proper, the en- 
closed letter, withdrawing my name from the consideration 
of that Convention. 

In determining what is a proper time to comply with this 
request, you will consider only the cause in which we are 
engaged, and the reasonable claim which my friends may 
have to the use of my name for its advancement. While I 
am willing to submit to any sacrifice for them or for the 
cause, I wish it distinctly understood that ] ask nothing for 
myself, and you will therefore decide this question wholly 
regardless of any real or supposed w T ish of mine. 

That my friends, to whose solicitations I have yielded in 
this matter, may not be prejudiced by my withdrawal, I have 
not thought it proper to disclose this intended act to any 
person but yourself, lest it might be said that in so doing I 
had not acted in good faith to those who have thought my 
name essential to the success of the Whig cause. You will 
therefore perceive that the responsibility is with you, and 
with you alone, to keep the whole a profound secret until 
the proper time shall arrive to present my letter to the Con- 
vention ; and of this, with full confidence in your prudence 
and wisdom, I constitute you the sole judge. 

On the one hand, you will be careful to guard against 
any premature act or disclosure, which might embarrass my 
friends and give them just cause of complaint, while on the 
other you will not suffer my name to be dragged into a con- 
test for a nomination which I have never sought, do not 
now seek, and would not take if tendered, but in discharge 
of an implied obligation, which every man assumes* upon 


uniting- with a political party, which is, to yield to the will 
of a majority of those with whom he acts. 
I have the honor to be, 

Your friend and ob't serv't, 

Millard Fillmore 
[To Hon. George R. Babcock, 

Delegate to the National Whig Convention 
from the Buffalo District, N. Y.] 


The following extract from a letter by President Fillmore 
to a friend whose identity is not known appeared in the 
Philadelphia American soon after the Whig National con- 
vention of 1852. It was published by way of contradicting 
the report that the President was desirous of defeating Gen. 
Scott's election : 


Washington, July 19, 1852. 

I was not disappointed, nor had I anything to regret, in 
the result of the Baltimore Convention. The approbation 
which that Convention expressed of the policy which I had 
pursued, in the resolutions which it adopted, was more grati- 
fying to me than to have received the nomination. . . . 

I cannot doubt that Gen. Scott intends to carry out the 
principles of the Whig party in good faith, if elected, and it 
seems to me that he is justly entitled to the support of every 
true Whig. I am, therefore, gratified to learn from your 
letter that you intend to give him a cordial and hearty sup- 


The following letter was written in reply to one from a 
number of gentlemen in the vicinity of Lexington, Ky., tes- 
tifying tire high regard they entertained for Mr. Fillmore's 


personal and political character; their entire approbation of 
his whole course of official service since lie had been called 
to the Presidency, and assuring him that the result of the 
action of the convention had not in the slightest degree im- 
paired their confidence in him, or their interest in his suc- 

Washington, Aug. 2, 1852. 

Gentlemen : Your letter of the 25th June, came to hand 
on the 20th ult, and I avail myself of the first leisure mo- 
ment to express to you my grateful acknowledgments for 
the unexpected, and, I fear, undeserved honor which you 
have done me. 

Were I a prominent candidate for the place which I now 
occupy, or were I just entering upon the discharge of its 
high and responsible duties, with power to distribute favors, 
I might suspect the motive that dictated so flattering an esti- 
mate of my merits. But your letter is addressed to one who 
is about to retire from the political world — whose sands are 
so nearly run that he has neither honors nor emoluments to 
bestow. Under such circumstances, however I may distrust 
my own deserts, I am not at liberty to doubt tht sincerity 
of your motives. 

When, therefore, I recognize, as 1 do, among your signa- 
tures some old and endeared friends and many distinguished 
names which Kentucky has long delighted to honor, I can- 
not suppress the grateful emotions of my heart at receiving 
such a flattering testimonial from so distinguished and dis- 
interested a source. While I cannot feel that I deserve all 
the encomiums which you have been pleased to bestow upon 
my efforts to save the country, yet I can truly say that I 
have, regardless of all consequences to myself, endeavored to 
promote its best interests, and advance its true glory, by 
sustaining its Constitution in all its parts, and by impar- 
tially executing all laws passed in pursuance of it; by rec- 
ommending only such measures as I thought would promote 
the general welfare; by selecting honest and capable men 
for office; by dealing justly with all nations, and ''forming 


entangling alliances with none"; exacting nothing from the 
weak which was not clearly our due, and yielding nothing 
to the strong which they had not a right to claim; and I 
need hardly add that I cannot feel otherwise then highly 
gratified to learn, from so intelligent a portion of my fellow 
citizens, that, in their opinion, these efforts to serve my 
country have not been altogether in vain. 

But, gentlemen, this free will offering of yours has an 
additional value in my estimation from its locality. It is 
from the friends and neighbors of the lamented Clay, whose 
tomb is bedewed with a nation's tears. Such a tribute from 
such a source, could not fail to stir the deepest emotions of 
the heart, and bring with it a thousand tender recollections 
of the illustrious dead. He was my friend. He was the 
friend of his country. His ashes now rest in your midst, 
but his fame fills the earth. I confess that I appreciate your 
communication the more highly because it comes from men 
who have long been his daily companions, listening to his 
soul-stirring eloquence, and imbibing his noble sentiments 
of patriotism. 

Next in my estimation to the approval of my own con- 
science, is the enlightened approbation of those whom I 
have endeavored to serve, and I shall cherish this distin- 
guished mark of your confidence and esteem, to my latest 
breath. It shall add renewed zeal to my efforts for the brief 
remainder of my term, and cheer my hours of solitude when 
I retire to the shades of private life. 

I have the honor to be your friend and fellow-citizen, 

Millard Fillmore 

Messrs. George Robertson, J. O. Harrison, 
W. G. Goodlee, M. C. Johnson, 
Garrett Davis, T. A. Marshall, 
P. S. Butler, and others. 


"the best likeness ever taken of me." 

Washington, Oct. 15th, 1852. 

Hon. D. A. Boker, New York. 

My dear Sir : Mr. F. B. Carpenter, to whom you gave 
a letter of introduction for the purpose of obtaining my por- 
trait, has finished the picture and returned to New York. 
It gives me great pleasure to inform you, that all who have 
seen it pronounce it an excellent likeness. I do not conceive 
that any man is a good judge of a portrait of himself, but 
nevertheless, so far as I am competent to express an opinion, 
I feel bound to .say that it is the best likeness which lias ever 
been taken of me. lie will doubtless have applications to 
copy it, as two or three have already spoken to me on that 
subject, and it will be an equal relief to me, and a benefit to 
the artist, if they can obtain satisfactory likenesses in that 
way. I shall be highly gratified to learn that Mr. Carpenter 
is hereafter appreciated according to his merits. He is cer- 
tainly an artist who bids fair to take the first rank, if he has 
not already attained it, as a portrait" painter in this country. 
I am 

Truly Yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mr. H. L. Ehrich, The Ehrich Galleric5, New York. 
The portrait referred to is reproduced as frontispiece, I. Fillmore. 

refusing an application. 

[Washington] Nov. i, '52. 

Secy, of Navy, 

My dr. Sir: I herewith return the application of Saml. 
B. Elliott to be restored as a midshipman. The perusal of 
the papers has left a strong suspicion upon my mind that he 
resigned to avoid an unpleasant duty. He says it was in con- 
sequence of the illness of his family, but the proof of this is 
quite too vague to be satisfactory, and Mr. Chandler and 


the petitions from Philadelphia ail state that he resigned to 
go into business. 

The application is refused. 

Millard Fillmore 

[Hon. Wm. A. Graham] 

Original MS. owned by Buffalo Historical Society. 



Washington, Nov. 12, 1852. 
Tiiurlow Weed, Esq. 

My dear Sir: In the leading editorial of the Journal of 
the 9th inst. it is said 

"The Southern States all sent delegates to the National 
convention in favor of Mr. Fillmore, who, while Vice Presi- 
dent, as the Honorable D. D. Barnard says, would have 
given his casting vote against the Compromise Bill." 

Will you permit me to inquire on what authority this 
alleged statement of Mr. Barnard is made? 
I am Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mrs. Emily Weed Hollister, Rochester, N. Y. 

Daniel D. Barnard was a lawyer of Rochester, N. Y., who served in the 

State Legislature and in Congress. President Fillmore appointed him minister 
to Prussia. 


Washington, Nov. 12, 1852. 
Hon. Hugh Maxwell, New York City. 

Your note of yesterday came to hand this morning, in 
which you state a conversation you had with Mr. George 
Law, from which you learned that the "Crescent City will 
go to Cuba and enter the port of Havana in defiance of the 


Spanish authority ; and if fired upon, she will be sur- 
rendered, and that then he and others will immediately com- 
mence hostilities against the island." You say also that "he 
desires to know whether he is right in persisting in the pur- 
suit of his lawful business, and that if the Government shall 
tell him he must not go, he will not go. If, however, the 
Government say nothing against his going, he will infer he 
has a right to go." You say also that '"he professes to be 
friendly to me and my Administration." Of the sincerity 
of this latter profession one can best judge by reading his 
letter of the 9th, published in the N. Y. Herald of the 10th 

But in regard to the chief matters of your letter, permit 
me to say that, in the first place, I do not admit the right of 
Mr, Law, or any other citizen, to threaten a war on his own 
account, for the purpose of seeking redress for real or imag- 
inary injuries, and then to call upon the Government to say 
whether it approves or disapproves of such conduct, and 
assume its approbation urdess the act is forbidden. The 
Constitution of the United States has vested in Congress 
alone the power of declaring war. and neither the Executive 
branch of the Government nor Mr. Law, has any right to 
usurp that power by commencing a war without its author- 
ity ; and if he shall attempt it, it will be my duty, as it is 
my determination, to exert all the power confided to the 
Executive Government by the Constitution and laws to pre- 
vent it. I am resolved, at every hazard, to maintain our 
rights in this controversy as against Spain, and I am equally 
resolved that no act of our citizens shall be permitted to 
place this Government in the wrong. Mr. Law has un- 
doubted right to pursue his lawful business ; but when a 
question is raised between this Government and a foreign 
nation as to whether the business which he pursues is lawful 
or pursued in a lawful manner, the decision of that question 
belongs to those Governments and not to him. If the object 
be to assert his right to enter the port of Havana with such 
persons as he mav choose to select, in defiance of the laws 
and Government of Spain, he has certainly done enough to 
present that question for the decision of the Government of 


Spain and the United States ; and the negotiation has al- 
ready commenced, and our rights as we understand them 
have been asserted, and as I said before, will be maintained ; 
but the act of the Government cannot be controlled by the 
interference of any individual ; and it is entirely unnecessary 
that Mr. Law should repeat those attempts for the purpose 
of settling this controversy, and if he wilfully does so, and 
in so doing violates the laws of a foreign nation within its 
own jurisdiction, and thereby loses or forfeits his vessel, he 
can expect no indemnity for such an act of folly from this 
Government. We regulate the terms and conditions upon 
which all foreign vessels shall enter our ports, and we fix 
the penalties for violation of our laws, and the right to do 
so we shall never suffer to be questioned by foreigners, and 
we do not question theirs to do the same thing. He must 
wait the result of the negotiations between the two Govern- 
ments. This is a question not to be settled between him. and 
Cuba, nor even between the United States and Cuba, but 
between the United States and Spain, which alone is re- 
sponsible for the conduct of the Governor of Cuba. 

I write in some haste, as the mail is closing: but you 
are at liberty to make known the contents of this letter to 
Mr. Law, and to inform him, that as a good citizen, I pre- 
sume he will not attempt any violation of our neutrality 
laws by attacking Cuba. 

I remain, truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

See President Fillmore'? letter to the Secretary of the Navy, May 17, 1852. 
(I. Fillmore, p. 363.) Hugh Maxwell was Collector at New York. George 
Law's Cuban projects are narrated in many histories. The Spanish authorities 
at Havana issued an order forbidding any ship to enter that port having on 
board a certain person, serving as purser on one of Law's steamships, on the 
ground — as alleged — that he Lad supplied correspondence to the New York 
Herald inimical to the Spanish government in Cuba. Law appealed to Wash- 
ington, and was advised by the Administration to dismiss- the objectionable em- 
ploye. To this Law retorted that if the Government could not protect its own 
citizens in their rights, that fact should be made known. The captain-general 
of Cuba threatened to sink one of Law's ships, the Crescent City, if she passed 
the Morro castle with the obnoxious purser on board. However, he vas re- 
tained, the vessel continued her trips, and the bellicose order was withdrawn. 
Law was an ardent American, was regarded as a possible candidate for the 
Presidency in 1S56, and his name was presented in the convention of the 
American party which nominated Mr. Fillmore. He died in New York City 
Nov. 18, 1 88 1. 




Washington, January 226, 1853. 
Gilbert Davis, Esq., New York, N. Y. 

My dear Sir: Your note of yesterday came to hand 
this morning, and I hasten to do justice to a political op- 
ponent who is now in his grave. You say that it was stated 
in your presence that President Polk was heartless and cold, 
and that one of his coldest acts was that he vacated the 
White House several days before the President-elect came 
to Washington for fear of opening his heart so far as to ask 
him to his house and table. It is due to Mr. Polk to say 
that I know this to be untrue. Genl. Taylor and myself 
were both invited to dine with him, and did dine with him 
before he left the White House, and I have no doubt all 
the civilities ordinarily extended to the incoming adminis- 
tration were extended by President Polk to General Taylor 
and according to my recollection he did not leave the White- 
House till the 4th or rather the 5th of March, which was 
Monday. The confusion incident to the closing of a session 
of Congress and the breaking up of housekeeping by the 
President's family must necessarily prevent any President 
from doing more than Mr. Polk did in the case of Genl. 
Taylor, and if I am rightly informed many of his predeces- 
sors did not do as much. 
I am 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Adrian H. Toline, New York City. 
The body of this letter is in the handwriring of a secretary. 


Washington, March 3, 1853. 

James Mc Alpine Sommerville, Esq., 

My dear Sir : Your note of yesterday accompanied by 
some beautiful specimens of moss and a very curious stone 

• - 


came duly to hand, for which I beg- leave to return you my 
sincere thanks. ] have only had time to glance at these 
objects of curiosity but have laid them aside for future 

I am 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fi llm ( )R i : 

MS. collections, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Washington, March 18, 1853. 

Jas. McAlpjne Sommerville, Esq. 

Sir: Sickness in my family has compelled me to neglect 
my correspondents and among others, yourself, or I should 
have acknowledged more promptly the receipt of your note 
of the 7th inst. accompanied by some additional specimens 
of Marine Algae, for which I beg leave now to tender my 

I shall not have time to give them any critical examina- 
tion until I return home, but I have forwarded them to my 
residence for future inspection. 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 

MS. collections, Histoiical Society of Pennsylvania. 



Washington, March 4, 1853. 

Hon. Hiram Barton, 

Mayor of the City of Buffalo. 
Sir: Your letter of the 21st ult. enclosing resolutions of 
the Common Council of the city came duly to hand and I 
have delayed an answer, not because I did not fail to appre- 
ciate the compliment which has been paid me, but because 
it was uncertain whether I should at the close of my admin- 
istration return directly to Buffalo or go by the way of New 
Orleans and the Mississippi river. 



The flattering" manner in which these resolutions speak 
of my public services, and the cordial terms in which they 
invite my return to my home in your beautiful and beloved 
city, could not be otherwise than grateful to my feeling's ; 
and for these I beg leave to return to you and to the Com- 
mon Council through you my warmest thanks. This kind 
manifestation of feeling on the part of my old friends and 
neighbors but adds another item to the debt of gratitude 
which I owe to the citizens of Buffalo and which I can never 
hope to discharge. But I anticipate the pleasure of soon 
being with you again with the fond expectation of spending 
the remainder of my days in the quiet retirement of private 
life, free from the bitterness which party strife too often en- 
genders, and exempt from the cares and anxieties with 
which the most successful in political life are necessarily 
burdened. Many of my friends, however, are doubtless 
aware that I have long desired to visit the Southern States 
and the great valley of the Mississippi. I had made my ar- 
rangements to do this four years ago this spring, but the 
prevalence of the cholera prevented. Since then, my official 
duties would not permit it, and now for the first time do I 
feel myself in a position to gratify this long cherished de- 
sire. Mrs. Fillmore's health, which has been delicate for 
some time past and which might suffer from a sudden tran- 
sition from this warm to a colder climate, but which I have 
reason to hope may be improved by the journey, offers an 
additional inducement and I have accordingly concluded to 
return by the way of Charleston, New Orleans, St. Louis 
and the Lakes, and hope to reach Buffalo about the first of 
May. This delay, were there no other cause, will doubtless 
prevent the members of my Cabinet from accepting your in- 
vitation to accompany me. But one or more of them intend 
making the journey with me, and should they do so they 
will visit your city where I venture to bespeak for them that 
hospitable reception which their able public, service and high 
character so justly merit and which the citizens of Buffalo 
know so well how to bestow. But as to myself, it will be 
most gratifying to my feelings to be received privately 


without any public display and be welcomed again to your 
hospitable firesides as your neighbor and friend. I ask no 

I write in some haste and after much fatigue for several 
days incident to the close of the session and the inaugura- 
tion, and have not time to copy or revise; but am ever, 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Printed, Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, March 9, 1853. 



Buffalo, September 9, 1853. 

Sir : There was published in pamphlet form in your city 
a year or two since, a narrative of the sufferings of John 
Fillmore while a prisoner with the pirates. I am applied to 
for a copy and having none, shall be much obliged if you 
can obtain half a dozen and send me by mail ; and I will 
cheerfully remit their cost. 

I am truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Editor of the Gazette, Utica, N. F. 

Original MS. in collections of the Oneida Historical Society, Utica, N. Y. 

A copy of this Utica edition of the John Fillmore narrative, preserved in 
the library of the Buffalo Historical Society, contains this unsigned memorandum 
of some former owner: "This pamphlet was sent me by President Fillmore. 
Have never seen another copy." The title-page differs somewhat from that of 
the Aurora edition (I. Fillmore, p. 27), and includes the following: "To which 
is added a brief biography of Hon. Millard Fillmore, of Buffalo." Under these 
words in the copy referred to, is written in Mr. Fillmore's handwriting: "Great 
Grandson of John Fillmore." This edition is a umo. pp. 22, with the imprint: 
"Utica: Printed for Russell Potter. 185 1." 


Buffalo, Febuy 16, 1854 

My dear Miss Johnson: T owe you an apology for 
having neglected so long to write you in reference to a 
school in this city. But this neglect has not been owing to 


any forget fulness on my part of what I had promised or any 
indifference to your wishes or welfare. The fact is that 
when I returned from Aurora I found all the city officers 
had been changed, and I was unacquainted with Mr. Cook 
who had just entered upon his duties of the Office as Super- 
intendent. I however spoke to Mr. Rice his predecessor on 
the subject, and he promised to see the Officer and let me 
know whether you could probably obtain a situation as 
teacher, but it was some time before I received any informa- 
tion from him, and then found he had only seen the chair- 
man of the Committee and not the Superintendent. I ac- 
cordingly wrote the Superintendent and have just received 
his answer which I enclose with Mr. Rice's. 

I think you had better make a personal application by 
addressing a note through the Post Office directly to Mr. 
Cook the Superintendent enclosing him any recommenda- 
tions which it may be in your power to procure and request- 
ing him to write you, should a vacancy occur. 
I am truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by the Tennessee Historical Society, Nashville, Tenn. 

Ephraim Cook, referred to above, was the first superintendent of Buffalo 
public schools who was elected to that office; prior to 1854 the Common Coun- 
cil had filled the office by appointment. Mr. Cook's predecessor, alluded to by 
Mr. Fillmore, was Victor M. Rice, appointed 1852. 


Buffalo, Feby 26, 1854. 
Sunday morning. 

My dear Sir : By some unaccountable delay, neither 
yours of the 20th nor 22d reached me until last evening, and 
as the time is now very short for any servant to prepare to 
go with us, and as the German servant to whom you refer is 
probably the best. I have just sent a telegraph requesting 
you to engage him if you can and if you can not I will en- 
gage one here. If I am compelled to obtain one here I hope 
to know it bv tomorrow, or I fear he can not be ready. I 


thought it not safe to engage the colored man in N. Y. re- 
ferred to by Mr. Davies, as neither of us had [seen] or could 
see him, and the time is too short now to make the requisite 
inquiries and obtain satisfactory information by correspond- 
ence ; and we have no assurance that he could be obtained 
at any rate. It may save us trouble to take a White man 
especially if we go to Cuba. Have you a passport? I have 
obtained one. It may not be indispensable, yet I apprehend 
it would be convenient. 

I hear nothing further from Mr. Granger, and of course 
we must give him up. It would be delightful if we could 
have Mr. Irving, but I suppose it is too late now to hope for 
it, but I know of no gentleman whose company I should 

Regarding it as settled that we shall go by the way of 
Cincinati, I regret extremely that you can not come this 
way; but as it is, I will meet you either at Cincinati or 
Columbus; but I would suggest that we meet at Columbus 
on Friday evening, as this will enable us to see the Capitol 
of Ohio, and its legislature which is now in session ; and to 
call on Mr. Corwin on our way to Cincinati who resides at 
Lebanon, and is confined to his house by an injury received 
from a fall. If this meets your approbation, please telegraph 
me "yes" and I will consider that point settled. Or if you 
prefer not to go to Columbus, or to go there at a different 

time, please say, "Columbus Feby " or "Cincinati 

Feby " and I will govern myself accordingly. 

Hoping soon to see you, I will not trouble you further 
with the pen, than merely to add that my children join me in 
kindest regards to Mrs. Kennedy & yourself. 
I am truly & sincerely yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Hon. J. P. Kennedy, 


Original MS. owned by Mr. T. M. Eox, Philadelphia. 




Baltimore, Sunday, May 14, 1854. 

Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your note of this date, informing- me that you were 
a Joint Committee to welcome Mr. Kennedy and myself, 
and to tender to us the hospitality of the City of Baltimore, 
inquiring- also when it will be agreeable to receive my 
friends and fellow-citizens generally. 

My unexpected arrival among you has not taken you 
more by surprise than this mark of respect from your beau- 
tiful and flourishing city has me. I cannot regret, however, 
that I have reached this point in my journey earlier than 
you anticipated, for I should have felt compelled in pur- 
suance of a previous resolution, to have declined any public 
honors which your citizens might have been disposed to 

My reason for this, I hope, will be duly appreciated by 
the citizens of Baltimore. My journey was undertaken with 
the sole view of visiting that portion of my native country 
which I had long desired to see, but which circumstances, 
beyond my control, had hitherto prevented. My route has 
been a long and fatiguing one. The generous hospitalities, 
which have been so profusely lavished upon me, have added 
greatly to its interest and delight, without lessening its 

To refuse these civilities, when offered by friends whom 
I have never seen, appeared ungracious, and I therefore 
yielded to what appeared to be a kind of moral necessity — 
resolving, however, that as soon as I reached a point where 
I had visited before, that I would ask permission to decline 
all further public display. This will explain my motive for 
now soliciting that favor at your hands. I shall, however, be 
happy to be presented to such of your citizens as may de- 
sire it, any hour to-morrow which you may appoint. 

I beg you to excuse this note, as I write in much haste 
and have not time to copy. With my profound acknowledg- 


merits, gentlemen, for the honor you have done me, I remain, 

Your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore 

Messrs. Thomas Swann, and others, Committee. 


Buffalo, May 25, 1854. 

Sir: Your letter of the Sth of March last, was received 
here during my absence at the South, by which T am in- 
formed that I have been elected an Honorary Member of 
the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 

I cannot accept this compliment without requesting you 
to make my grateful acknowledgments to the Society for 
this mark of its respect, and to assure it that I shall always 
take a deep interest in its prosperity & success. 
Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Lyman C. Draper, Esq. 

Cor. Secy, Madison, Wis. 

MS. collections, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison. 


R. J. Compton, Esq., 


[Buffalo, July — , 1854] 
Sir: I delayed answering your note accompanying the 
lithograph of Dr. G. W. Hosmer, until I could have the pic- 
ture framed, when I could better judge of its merits. This 
took a much longer time than T anticipated, but it is now 
accomplished, and I take great pleasure in saying that I 
think it an admirable likeness, and that I feel no little pride 
in knowing that we have an artist in Buffalo capable of 
executing so elegant a lithograph. I hope and trust that 


this is but the commencement of a career of artistic success 
which will prove equally profitable and praiseworthy. 
I am respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

The above note was to Richard J. Compton, of Compton & Gibson, en- 
gravers and lithographers of Buffalo. 


Skaneateles, N. Y., Augt n, 1854 

My dear Sir : Your kind letter of condolence of the 3d 
hist, has just reached me here. That you should have re- 
membered me in my sorrows amid the anxieties incident to 
the closing of a long - session of Congress shews the deep 
sympathy of your breast, and can not be otherwise than 
grateful to my bleeding heart. 

That Heaven may prosper you and your administration is 
the sincere prayer of 

Your friend & obt Servt 

Millard Fillmore 
His Excellency, F. Pierce, 


Pierce collection, Library of Congress. r 

The above was occasioned by the death of Mr. Fillmore's daughter, Mary 
Abigail, July 26, 1854. 


Buffalo, N. York, December i, 1854 

My dear Sir: The bearer, Mr. John Beyer is a chief 
man in a religious association of Germans, settled near this 
city who contemplate removing to some western state. They 
have heretofore sent an exploring party to Kansas, but I 
understand the)' were not satisfied with that country, and as 
I have formed a very favorable opinion of your state, I have 
advised them to look at it before they locate ; and I know 
you will take great pleasure in giving them any information 
in your power. 


As a community, they are most excellent citizens, quiet, 
peaceable, industrious and honest; excellent agriculturalists 
and carrying on many branches of manufactures with re- 
markable skill & neatness. I hope they may find a place to 
suit them in your state. 

Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Genl. G. B. Sergeant, 

Davenport, la. 

Buchanan collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

In 1842 there came to Western New York a colony of immigrants from 
Geiscn, Duchy of Hesse Darmstadt, in Germany, numbering about 500 souls. 
They bought 5000 acres of bind on Buffalo Creek a few miles from the city at 
$10 per acre. Later they added a thousand or more acres to their earlier pur- 
chase, and there grew up four little villages, known as the Ebenezer Settle- 
ments, all within eight miles of Buffalo. litre they carried on farming and 
other occupations on a communistic plan. The settlements had increased to 
some 800 residents when in 1856-57 they sold out and removed to Iowa. Their 
original land purchase on Buffalo Creek was from the Ogden Company, which 
had acquired tide subsequent to the treaty of 184.?. The Indians objected to 
these German neighbors on their old lands, but soon themselves removed from 
the Buffalo Creek Reservation, and left the communists at peace. There are 
preserved in the archives of the Buffalo Historical Society a number of exceed- 
ingly interesting letters written by the Germans to the Senecas, maintaining the 
rights and title of die former to their Buffalo Creek lands. 


Buffalo, N. Y., Dec. 29, 1854 

Hon, James Buchanan, 


Dr Sir: Understanding that Dr. Le Yert of Mobile and 
his charming wife and daughter are about to make the tour 
of Europe, I venture to do for them, what I seldom do for 
anyone, and that is to give them a letter of introduction to 
our Minister in London. 

My acquaintance with the Doctor is but slight, but I un- 
derstand he is a gentleman of wealth and high professional 
attainments and universally esteemed in his own city. His 
lady, you may recollect as the charming Miss Walton of 


Florida, who spent some time at Washington, and fascinated 
all young - gentlemen and batchellors [sic] like yourself, 
with her beauty and conversational talents. You will find 

her still the same delightful companion and warm hearted, 
sympathising friend. Her daughter though quite young is 
beautiful, sensible, and accomplished, and I venture to be- 
speak for them all a tender of those civilities which you can 
so gracefully bestow and which, I know, they will so grate- 
fully receive. 

I have the honor to be 

Your obt servt 

Millard Fillmore 

Buchanan collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 


Buffalo, New York, Jan. 3, 1855 

Respected friend Isaac Newton : 

It would give me great pleasure to accept your kind in- 
vitation to visit Philadelphia, if it were possible to make my 
visit private, and limit it to a few personal friends whom I 
should be most happy to see. But I know that this would be 
out of my power; and I am therefore reluctantly compelled 
to decline your invitation, as I have done others to New 
York and Boston for the same reason. 

I return you many thanks for your information on the 
subject of politics. I am always happy to hear what is going 
forward; but independently of the fact that I feel myself 
withdrawn from the political arena, I have been too much 
depressed in spirit to take an active part in the late elec- 
tions. I contented myself with giving a silent vote for Mr. 
Ullman for Governor. 

While, however, I am an inactive observer of public 
events, I am by no means an indifferent one; and I may 
say to you, in the frankness of private friendship, I have 
for a long- time looked with dread and apprehension at the 
corrupting influence which the contest for the foreign vote 


is exciting upon our elections. This seems to result from 
its being banded tog-ether, and subject to the control of a 
few interested and selfish leaders. Hence, it has been a 
subject of bargain and sale, and each of the great political 
parties of the country have been bidding to obtain it; and, 
as usual in all such contests, the party which is most cor- 
rupt is most successful. The consequence is, that it is fast 
demoralizing the whole country ; corrupting the ballot-box 
— that great palladium of our liberty — into an unmeaning 
mockery, where the rights of native-born citizens are voted 
away by those who blindly follow their mercenary and sel- 
fish leaders. The evidence of this is found not merely in 
the shameless chaffering of the foreign vote at every elec- 
tion, but in the large disproportion of offices which are now 
held by foreigners, at home and abroad, as compared with 
our native citizens. Where is the true-hearted American 
whose cheek does not tingle with shame and mortification, 
to see our highest and most coveted foreign missions -filled 
by men of foreign birth, to the exclusion of the native-born? 
Such appointments are a humiliating confession to the 
crowned heads of Europe, that a Republican soil does not 
produce, sufficient talent to represent a Republican nation at 
a monarchial court. I confess that it seems to me, with all 
due respect to others, that, as a general rule, our country 
should be governed by American-born citizens. Let us give 
to the oppressed of every country an asylum and a home in 
our happy land ; give to all the benefits of equal laws and 
equal protection; but let us at the same time cherish as the 
apple of our eye the great principles of constitutional lib- 
erty, which few who have not had the good fortune to be 
reared in a free country know how to appreciate, and still 
less how to preserve. 

Washington, in that inestimable legacy which he left to 
his country — his Farewell Address — has wisely warned us to 
beware of foreign influence as the most baneful foe of a re- 
publican government. He saw it, to be sure, in a different 
light from that in which it now presents itself; but he knew 
that it would approach in all forms, and hence he cautioned 
us against the insidious wiles of its influence. Therefore, 


as well for our own sakes, to whom this invaluable inherit- 
ance of self-government has been left by our forefathers, as 
for the sake of the unborn millions who are to inherit this 
land — foreign and native — let us take warning of the Father 
of his Country, and do what we can to preserve our institu- 
tions from corruption, and our country from dishonor ; and 
let this be done by the people themselves in their sovereign 
capacity, by making a proper discrimination in the selection 
of officers, and not by depriving any individual, native or 
foreign-born, of any constitutional or legal right to which 
he is now entitled. 

These are my sentiments in brief; and although I have 
sometimes almost despaired of my country, when I have 
witnessed the rapid strides of corruption, yet I think I per- 
ceive a gleam of hope in the future, and I now feel confident 
that, when the great mass of intelligence in this enlightened 
country is once fully aroused, and the danger manifested, it 
will fearlessly apply the remedy, and bring back the Govern- 
ment to the pure days of Washington's administration. 

Finally, let us adopt the old Roman motto, "Never de- 
spair of the republic.'' Let us do our duty, and trust in that 
Providence which has so signally watched over and pre- 
served us, for the result. But I have said more than I in- 
tended, and much more than I should have said to any one 
but a trusted friend, as 1 have no desire to mingle in political 
strife. Remember me kindly to your family, and, believe me, 
I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

Printed, "Biography of Millard Fillmore" (,bv Ivory Chamberlain), Buffalo, 

Mr. Fiilmore's vote for Daniel Ullman for governor indicates his Know- 
nothing preferences; but Ullman ran behind both Myron II. Clark (Whig) and 
Horatio Seymour (Dem.), the official count making Clark governor by the nar- 
row margin of 309 votes. 


Buffalo, N. Y., Jany 4th, 1855. 

Sir: I have your letter of the 1st inst. and in reply to 
your enquiries would state that I was born in Locke (now 


Summerhin), Cayuga County, New York, January 7th, 
1S00; commenced the study of law with Walter Wood in 
Montville in the same county in 1819, and continued my 
studies in Buffalo, where I was admitted to practice in 
1823. I was elected a member of assembly of this State in 
the fall of 1828, and took my seat on the 1st Tuesday of 
January 1S29, which I held by reelection in 1830 and 1831. 
I was elected a member of the House of Representatives in 
the fall of 1S32. and took my seat in Congress on the 1st 
Monday oi Dec. 1833. an d was not a candidate for re- 
election in 1834, but was reelected in 1836, 1838 and 1840, 
& served rill the 3d of March 1843, when I peremptorily 
declined a reelection. I am not a graduate of any college ; 
and to my regret have no other education than such as I 
was able to obtain at our common schools, then quite in- 
ferior to what they now are ; and these I was only able to 
attend, after I was ten or twelve years of age, during the 
winter, and the summer was spent in labor upon the farm, 
and afterwards at the business of carding and cloth dressing 
until the age of nineteen. The want of early advantages has 
compelled me to labor the harder since to supply the de- 

In compliance with your request I have frankly stated 
these facts connected with my early history, and as no man 
is responsible for the circumstances of his birth, they fur- 
nish nothing of which he should be ashamed or proud, and 
therefore while they require no apology they can justify no 
boasting. I need hardly add that this letter is not intended 
for publication. T. am truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 
L. J. Cist, Esq., Cincinnati. 

Original MS. in collection of the late R. B. Adam, Buffalo. 


Buffalo, N. Y., Saturday, Feb. 10, 1855. 

My dear Sir : I have yours of the 9th inst., in which you 
inquire "whether I was privy to and advised any resolutions 


drawn by Mr. Weed or others, to be acted upon at the Al- 
bany meeting- in August, 1848 (26th) to defeat General 
Taylor"; to which I beg leave to reply, that I neither drew, 
or advised the drawing, of any such resolutions ; that on 
entering Mr. Weed's printing-office just at dusk, I found 
him engaged in drawing such resolutions for the meeting 
which had been called. He read them, which was the first 
knowledge I had of them, and I protested against them and 
the meeting, and on my remonstrance, as I understood, Air. 
Weed consented not to present them, but to have the meet- 
ing postponed. These are the facts, but in my retirement, I 
would chose to avoid all notoriety; and especially such as 
arises from political controversy; nevertheless, if it be es- 
sential to the truth of history that you should make known 
the contents of the letter, you are at liberty to do so. 

I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Hon. Erastus Brooks, 

Senate Chamber, Albany. 

Printed. Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Feb. 21, 185;,. 

[To Hugh Maxwell] 

My dear Sir: I owe you many thanks for your kind, 
frank, and I may add, flattering letter of the 21st ult. I re- 
gret exceedingly that you did not visit me as you had in- 
tended. Should I remain at home, I hope to see you the 
ensuing summer. But I have reflected much on what you 
say of my taking a journey to Europe, and have delayed 
answering until I could consult some friends who were ab- 
sent from the city. 

My Daughter had been extremely anxious to go, and I 
had consented to accompany her — more for her sake than 
my own — but her sudden and premature death prevented, 
and for a time, took away all desire. Even the thought of 
it became painful, as it appeared to me that every object of 


Buffalo, March 10, 1855 


interest which I should see in my journey would remind me 
of her, and instead of being a source of pleasure, would be- 
come positively painful because she could not be there to 
enjoy it with me. So I had relinquished all idea of making 
that tour this year, if I ever did. 

I notice, however, what you say of the desire of my ene- 
mies to draw my name into the seething cauldron of politics. 
That you are right in this I cannot doubt, and that they 
would have less inducement to do it, if I were absent, seems 
very probable. Yet I have a spice of obstinacy that makes 
me unwilling to act from any apprehension of that kind. I 
think I may safely defy their machinations. I will not say 
with Brutus, that "I am armed so strong in honesty that 
their threats pass by me like the idle wind''; but I will say 
that, though they have pursued me with unremitted rancor 
and envious malice for years, yet they have seldom disturbed 
the equanimity of my temper, however they may have im- 
paired my reputation. 

You seem to think that something said by Mr. Dickenson 
requires a response from me. This may be so, but I really 
know not what it is, as I have not read a speech of his dur- 
ing the session. My attention was called to some letters 
from Messrs. Weed, Clows & others that were said to con- 
flict with a statement made by me to Mr. Brooks in answer 
to an inquiry of his about the famous Taylor meeting in Al- 
bany in 1S48, and some thought that I had better write out 
the history of the whole transaction ; but that looked like 
entering the lists with these men on a question of veracity. 
The bare suggestion was revolting and I refused; although 
I have the most ample materials, in writings made at the 
time, to verify the truth of my letter; but Mr. Weed's own 
statement in his own paper at the time of the occurrence is 
ample to sustain me regardless of what he or those under 
his influence may now pretend to recollect of a transaction 
that took place more than six years since. I am determined 
not to degrade myself by putting my reputation for truth 
and veracity in conflict with such men. Let Mr. Weed & his 
compurgators be heard and then let the world judge be- 
tween us. 


Nor will I be driven from my country by their mendacity. 
If I visit Europe it will be for reasons wholly independent 
of this, or any thing* of a personal character connected with 
future political events. While 1 cannot feel otherwise than 
flattered to hear my name occasionally mentioned in con- 
nexion with the highest office in the gift of the people, yet 
an election could confer no new honors on me; and the 
vexatious cares and heavy responsibilities of that office might 
tarnish those which I now wear. Being* fully impressed with 
this, I have no aspirations — every ambitious wish of my 
heart has been more than gratified, and I am content. But 
do not misunderstand me. I do not under estimate the hon- 
ors connected with that exalted station. They are beyond 
price or comparison; but I have enjoyed them and while 
my heart is filled with gratitude, my judgment tells me that 
if I would consult my own happiness or even my future 
reputation, 1 should not venture again upon that sea of 
troubles. I have escaped ship wreck once, though tempest 
tost for many a weary day and anxious night. Prudence 
says, tempt not the treacherous element again where the 
reputations of so many great and good men have been lost! 
Pardon me, my dear Sir, but would not my illustrious suc- 
cessor give the same advice? 

But still I am rather inclined to make the tour of Europe 
if I can accomplish it. 1 am chiefly impelled to this by an 
apprehension that my health may be impaired by changing 
so suddenly from a very active, to a totally inactive life. I 
am well now. I spend my time mostly in reading, and very 
pleasantly — yet neither the body nor the mind has that exer- 
cise to which it has been accustomed, and a long-settled habit 
has become a second nature — and I fear that so torpid a state 
may cause paralysis of body or stagnation of intellect. I be- 
lieve with Adam Clark that it is better to wear out than rust 
out, and as my political life has unfortunately deprived me 
of my profession, perhaps I can do nothing better than to 
diversify my pursuits by travelling. Within the past year 
I have journeyed over the greater part of the United States. 
I enjoyed these journeys very much, but that source of in- 
struction and amusement is nearly exhausted. I must, there- 



fore, if I pursue it further, cross the Atlantic, and compare 
the old world with the new. 

But there are some things of which I wish to know more 
before I resolve to undertake so long a journey. And as my 
means are limited, the first, and most important is, the prob- 
able expense for a year that should carry me S. E. to Con- 
stantinople, and N. E. to St. Petersburg. Next, would my 
position be such in my intercourse with the titled dignitaries 
of Europe, as to subject my country to any indignity through 
me in our social intercourse ; and if this be so, could it be 
avoided by refusing all invitations to festive entertainments; 
or would it be possible, or if possible, would it be advisable, 
to travel incog. ? You will understand that while I have no 
personal pride for any social distinction in Europe, I would 
not knowingly place myself in a position where my country 
would be degraded or insulted through me. And lastly, 
what servants should I want, and where would it be best to 
provide them ; and when should I leave N. York? 

Your recent tour will enable you to give me valuable ad- 
vice on all these subjects; and in the mean time please to 
keep the matter a profound secret. 

Truly your friend 

Millard Fillmore 
Hugh Maxwell, Esq., N. Y. 

Original MS. owned by Miss Hilda Millet, Boston, Mass. 


Hotel de Londres, Rome, Italy, 

Tuesday, January 22nd, 1856. 

[To Solomon G. Haven] 

Dear Haven : Your very welcome favor of December 
6th reached me here on the 31st and I have delayed writing 
partly because I was too busy by day, and could not tax my 
eyes by night, and partly in the hope that I might be able to 
congratulate you and the country at least upon the election 
of Speaker, if not upon your own elevation to that highly 


honorable and at this moment peculiarly responsible position. 
But we. were all surprised this morning by reading in Galig- 
nctni that the President had sent his annual message to Con- 
gress, without the House being organized. This certainly 
looks as though the government was about to fall to pieces, 
as though anarchy and discord reigned between the different 
departments. While I regret exceedingly that you have not 
been able to elect a Speaker, I cannot but approve of the in- 
dependence of the House in refusing to permit such an un- 
timely communication to be read. We know nothing here 
of the circumstances as the American papers have not come 
to hand, and I fear will not — as they are detained in the 
Postoffice for examination — before I leave for Naples on 
Thursday morning. But all I can say is, stand by the coun- 
try and the constitution. Preserve the Union regardless of 
the mad denunciations of fanatics, or the reckless cry of 
Demagogues, and you will be sure to have the approval of 
your own conscience now and eventually the approbation of 
all honest and intelligent men. And no true statesman 
should seek for more. 

But pardon me for saying so much in a way that seems 
like giving advice, which is neither needed nor intended, but 
rather thinking aloud of what I would do — and I know you 
will — were I in your situation. We get but imperfect in- 
formation from the papers and your letter contained the only 
reliable intelligence which I have received from Home in a 
long time. I hope you will continue to repeat the favor 
without waiting for my response. I was gratified to hear 
that Mr. Corcoran had arrived safely at home. I expected a 
letter from him but have received none. Should you see 
him or any of his family make my kindest regards to them. 

We left Paris Nov. 14th and arrived here on the 29th of 
Dec. stopping at Lyons, Avignon, Nismes, Aries, Marseilles, 
Nice, Genoa, Turin, Leghorn, Pisa, Florence & Siena, long- 
enough to see the objects of interest in each place, and per- 
forming the journey without accident or any material dis- 
comfort. We have now been here long enough to have be- 
come somewhat familiar with the topography of Rome, 


ancient and modern, and have seen the lions of the Eternal 
City or, at least, as many of them as I shall be able to remem- 
ber. We did think of staying for the carnival, but under- 
standing that it has greatly degenerated, we have concluded 
to content ourselves with Dickens' humorous and graphic 
description of it, and go on to Naples. In fact we can not 
spare the time. Messrs. Foote and Jewett have concluded 
to go to Egypt as far as Cairo, then to Jerusalem, Constan- 
tinople and return to Trieste, & if I think my eyes will en- 
dure it, after seeing Naples, I shall accompany them. In 
that event, I cannot hope to hear from home again for two 
months to come, as I shall probably touch Europe first at 
Venice or Trieste. 

I have made few personal acquaintances here except with 

I cannot attempt to describe the things which I have seen 
here or elsewhere. All that you will obtain from Murray's 
Hand books or Hillarcls Six Months in Italy better than I 
can give you. But I may remark that I am astonished at 
the number of Americans travelling in Europe. They 
swarm in every city. The English language is heard in 
every town, and less frequently from the English themselves 
than from their trans-Atlantic cousins.. The climate here is 
mild and were it not for the incessant rains would be pleas- 
ant. Vegetation is as green as with us in May, and the tem- 
perature is about like ours in September or early October. 

As in duty bound, 1 was presented to his Holiness the 
Pope. He granted me a private audience, but the day before 
I was to be presented I was told that the etiquette of the 
Court required all who were presented to kneel and kiss the 
hand of the Pope, if not his foot. This took me by surprise 
and when Mr. Cass called to accompany me to the Vatican, 
I informed him of what I had heard, and said if this was the 
case, I must decline the honor of a presentation. That I 
could only consent to be presented to the Pope as the sovreign 
of the State, not as High Priest of a religious sect or denom- 
ination. Pie assured me that I had been misinformed and I 
consented to accompany him. I was accordingly presented. 


His Holiness received me sitting, but very graciously, 
neither offering hand or foot for salutation, and to my sur- 
prise, asked me to take a seat, and entered very freely and 
familiarly into conversation for some ten or fifteen minutes. 
He has a very benevolent face, and I doubt not is a very 
good man. From all I can learn here, he was really desirous 
of benefiting those whom he governs, and especially in 
ameliorating the condition of the common people. But the 
system which he administers is so bad, and is entrenched so 
strongly m the political and ecclesiastical despotism of ages, 
and he is so hedged in by a numerous and selfish priesthood, 
that he found it impossible. The madness and folly of poli- 
tical demagogues, w T ho without any knowledge of a republi- 
can government seized upon the reins of power and com- 
mitted many excesses, disgusted all well meaning, sensible 
men, and has thrown back all hope of reform here for many 
years to come. I was also introduced to Cardinal Antonelli, 
the minister of foreign affairs. He appears to me like a very 
intelligent active energetic man and I believe is the chief 
person in the administration. Some say that he is ambitious 
but of that I know nothing. Upon the whole I have no 
cause to complain of the treatment which I have received 
from the government officials any where in Europe. That 
they should not like our government, is neither strange nor 
unnatural, and as long as they do not require me to like 
theirs I am content. I must say, however, in all candor, 
that these people seem wholly unfit for a republican form 
of government. If they can ever reach that, it must be by 
slow degrees through a constitutional monarchy. But 
enough — wc will talk the rest when I return. 

Presuming that Mrs. Haven is with you I beg you to re- 
member me to her most kindly, and believe me when I say 
I am truly your friend 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by Miss Ida Haven, Buffalo, N. Y. 



Paris, May 21, 1856. 

Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter, informing- me that the National Con- 
vention of the American party, which had just closed its 
session at Philadelphia, had unanimously presented my name 
for the Presidency of the United States, and associated with 
it that of Andrew Jackson Donelson for the Vice Presidency. 
This unexpected communication met me at Venice, on my 
return from Italy, and the duplicate mailed thirteen days 
later, was received on my arrival in this city last evening. 

This must account for my apparent neglect in giving a 
more prompt reply. 

You will pardon me for saying, that, when my adminis- 
tration closed in 1853, I considered my political life as a 
public man at an end, and thenceforth I was only anxious 
to discharge my duty as a private citizen. Hence I have 
taken no active part in politics ; but I have by no means been 
an indifferent spectator of passing events, nor have I hesi- 
tated to express my opinion on all political subjects when 
asked, nor to give my vote and private influence for those 
men and measures I thought best calculated to promote the 
prosperity and glory of our common country. Beyond this, 
I have deemed it improper for me to interfere. 

But this unsolicited and unexpected nomination has im- 
posed upon me a new duty, from which I cannot shrink; 
and therefore, approving as I do, the general objects of the 
party which has honored me with its confidence, I cheerfully 
accept its nomination, without waiting to inquire of its pros- 
pects of success or defeat. It is sufficient for me to know 
that by so doing I yield to the wishes of a large portion of 
my fellow-citizens in every part of the Union, who, like 
myself, are sincerely anxious to see the administration of 
our government restored to that original simplicity and 
purity which marked the first years of its existence, and, if 
possible, to quiet that alarming sectional agitation, which, 


while it delights the monarchists of Europe, causes every 
true friend of our country to mourn. 

Having the experience of past service in the administra- 
tion of the Government, I may be permitted to refer to that 
as the exponent of the future, and to say, should the choice 
of the Convention be sanctioned by the people, I shall, with 
the same scrupulous regard for the rights of every section of 
the Union which then influenced my conduct, endeavor to 
perform every duty confided by the Constitution and laws to 
the Executive. 

As the proceedings of the Convention have marked a new 
era in the history of the country, by bringing a new political 
organization into the approaching presidential canvass, I 
take occasion to reaffirm my lull confidence in the patriotic 
purpose of that organization, which I regard as springing 
out of the public necessity forced upon the country to a large 
extent by unfortunate sectional divisions, and the dangerous 
tendency of those divisions towards disunion. 

It alone, in my opinion, of all the political agencies now 
existing, is possessed of the power to silence this violent and 
disastrous agitation, and restore harmony by its own ex- 
ample of moderation and forbearance. It has a claim, there- 
fore, in my judgment, upon every earnest friend of the in- 
tegrity of the Union. 

So estimating this party, both in its present position and 
future destiny, I freely adopt its great leading principles, as 
announced in the recent declaration of the National Council 
in Philadelphia, a copy of which, you were so kind as to en- 
close to me, holding them to be just and liberal to even- 
true interest of the country, and wisely adapted to the es- 
tablishment and support of an enlightened, safe, and effec- 
tive American policy, in full accord with the ideas and the 
hopes of the fathers of our Republic. 

I expect shortly to sail for America, and with the bless- 
ing of Divine Providence hope soon to tread my native soil. 
My opportunity of comparing my own country and the con- 
dition of the people with those of Europe has only served 
to increase my admiration and love of our blessed land of 


liberty, and I shall return to it without even a desire ever to 
cross the Atlantic again. 

I beg of you, gentlemen, to accept my thanks for the very 
flattering manner in which you have been pleased to com- 
municate the result of the action of that enlightened and 
patriotic body of men who composed the late convention, 
and to be assured, that I am, with profound respect and 
esteem, your friend and fellow-citizen. 

Millard Fillmore 

Messrs. Alexander H. H. Stuart, Andrew 
Stewart, Erastus Brooks, E. B. 
Baktlett, Wm. J. Eames, Ephriam 
Marsh, Committee. 

on a gift of a cane from henry clay s home. 

Buffalo, N. Y., July 4th, 1856. 

Dear Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt 
of your friendly note of the 30th ult, together with the 
beautiful cane accompanying it, made from one of the joists 
which supported the floor of the library of the late lamented 
Henry Clay. 

1 accept this token of your friendship and respect with 
grateful emotions, and shall value it not merely or mainly 
for its costly and elegant workmanship, but chiefly for the 
motives which prompted the donation, and the reminiscences 
awakened by the association. I shall never look upon this 
cane without being reminded of Ashland and its noble pos- 
sessor. Though dead, he still lives, and his voice, speaking 
from his consecrated grave, calls upon his countrymen to 
stand by the Union and maintain the Constitution. 

He was my friend, and I shall be most happy if my con- 
duct shall prove that I am worthy of his confidence. 

With renewed thanks, I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

The unknown recipient of the above was a resident of Philadelphia. 


From Origi 

<*ls. in Brass, Copper and Whitc Ket»l. Owned by the Butfalo 
istorical Society. The Large "union" Token has the 
Fillmore Head on the Reversc. 



Buffalo, N. Y., July 29, 1856. 

Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter of the 25th inst, informing me that at a 
Convention of the Executive Committees of the several 
Chapters of the Order of United Americans in this State, 
convened in the City of New York, on the 21st inst., it was 
unanimously resolved to adopt my nomination as your can- 
didate for President of the United States, of which you were 
instructed to give me official notice. 

My position before the country is well known, admitting 
neither of disguise or equivocation. 1 am the candidate of 
the American party, but I see nothing inconsistent with that 
position or dishonorable either to myself or ihose who may 
support me, in receiving the votes of those who, knowing 
my position, prefer to cast them for me; and I feel particu- 
larly flattered where' it is done, as in your case, on the 
ground of my past official acts. I therefore accept the nom- 
ination so generously tendered by the Order of United 
Americans, and hope they may never have reason to regret 
this signal proof of confidence. 

I have the honor to be, gentlemen, 

Your friend and fellow T citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 

The foregoing was widely published during the campaign of 1856. 
In their letter notifying Mr. Fillmore of their endorsal of him as a candi- 
date, the committee saidr 

"The Order of United Americans is the oldest of all the American organi- 
zations, and from which, under different names, and with other collateral objects, 
have organized the various associations of the country devoted to American in- 

"The Order of United Americans, while demanding that the political inter- 
ests of the country should be controlled by Americans, would secure a steadfast 
adherence to that feature of our institutions which secures to every man pro- 
tection in his civil or religious rights; they disclaim all partisan association, 
maintaining equal hostility to the political demagogues of our own land, and 
to the influence of those of foreign birth. They hold in sacred reverence the 
maxims and teaching of Washington against sectional controversies, and adhere 
with patriotic devotion to the Constitution and the union of the States." 

Among the signers of this letter were Simeon Baldwin, Erastus Brooks, 
and numerous other men of high standing. 



Buffalo, N. Y\, July 31, 1S56. 
H. V. M. Miller, Esq. 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 12th inst, informing me that at a Convention of 
the American party of the State of Georgia, held in the 
City of Macon on the 8th and 9th inst., I was unanimously 
nominated as their candidate for the Presidency of the 
United States at the ensuing election. 

Being already in the field as the candidate of the Ameri- 
can party of the Union, I cannot feel otherwise, than flat- 
tered and honored by the accession of Georgia to her sister 
States in the support of my nomination. My political senti- 
ments are too well known to need any recapitulation here, 
and my character and former services are the only pledges 
which I can offer, that I will, if elected, use my best en- 
deavors so to administer the Government as to restore har- 
mony to the conflicting sections and maintain a cordial union 
between the States by giving to each and all that protection 
which the Constitution has guaranteed. If my friends be- 
lieve that I have sufficient intelligence to know their consti- 
tutional rights, and sufficient honesty and moral courage to 
maintain them, they will be satisfied with this, but if I lack 
either, no pledge could supply the deficiency or justify them 
in giving me their support. 

I accept the nomination so generously tendered with a 
grateful appreciation of the honor done me by the Conven- 
tion, and I beg leave to express to you my thanks for the 
kind manner in which you have been pleased to communi- 
cate the result of their deliberation. 

I remain vour friend and fellow-citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Printed, Rome (Ga.) Courier, Aug., 1856. 



Buffalo, N. Y., Aug. 6, 1856. 

Windham Robertson, Esq., 

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 23d ult., transmitting a copy of the preamble 
and resolutions adopted by the Whig- convention of Vir- 
ginia, lately assembled at Richmond, by which that intelli- 
gent and patriotic body recommend to their Whig brethren 
throughout the State to yield to my nomination for the 
Presidency their active and zealous support. 

Standing, as I do, as the known candidate of another 
party, I yet receive this recommendation with gratitude. I 
feel that it is made, not because the principles of the two 
parties are identical, nor with a view of merging them in 
each other — for such an object is expressly disclaimed by 
the convention — but because the principles which my nomi- 
nation represents, approach more nearly to those maintained 
by the Whigs of Virginia than those maintained by any 
other candidate ; and because, as the convention was pleased 
to say, of their confidence in my late administration of the 

Whatever may be our differences on minor subjects, I am 
sure there is one on which we agree ; and that one at the 
moment is paramount to all others. I allude to the preser- 
vation of the union of these States, and the rescuing the 
country from sectional strife. The question is not so much, 
How shall the Government be administered, as how shall it 
be preserved ; and on this great, vital question, National 
Whigs, National Democrats, and Union-loving Americans 
may well act in concert. On this basis I shall with great 
pleasure receive the votes of all who have confidence in my 
integrity and ability, and who ask no other pledge than my 
past service, for my future conduct. This position seems 
to me alike honorable to all. No principle is sacrificed. No 
deception is practiced, and I trust that no one. casting his 
vote for me on this ground, will ever have cause to regret it. 


With many thanks for the flattering- manner in which you 
have been pleased to communicate the result of the con- 
* vention 

I have the honor to be 

Your friend and fellow citizen 

Millard Fillmore. 

The foregoing, first printed in the Richmond (Va.) Whig, was sent in reply 
to a letter containing resolutions adopted by the Virginia Whig convention. 


Buffalo, N. Y., Aug. 30, 1856. 

To B. F. Washington, Esq., Chairman of the Democratic 
State Central Committee of California: 

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 14th instant, in which you inquire whether my 
sentiments remain the same in reference to internal improve- 
ments by the General Government, and specially with refer- 
ence to a railroad to California, as they were in 1850, when 
I sent my first annual message to Congress. 

In reply to your inquiry, permit me to state that I have 
invariably refused to pledge myself to any particular course 
of policy in case of my election to the Presidency. My past 
life is the only guarantee that I can give for my future con- 
duct. But I have no hesitation in saying that I have seen 
no cause to change my sentiments on the subjects of your 
inquiry; and consequently they remain the same as they 
were when I penned my annual message to Congress in 1850. 

Millard Fillmore. 

James Buchanan was less non-committal than Mr. Fillmore. In reply to 
the same inquiries that called forth Mr. Fillmore's letter of Aug. 30th, Mr. 
Buchanan wrote: "I am decidedly favorable to the construction of the Pacific 
railroad; and I derive the authority to do this from the constitutional power 'to 
declare war' and the constitutional duty 'to repel invasions.' In my judgment 
Congress possesses the same power to make appropriations for the construction 
of this road, strictly for the purpose of National defence, that it has to erect 
fortifications at the mouth of the harbor of San Francisco." 




Buffalo, Sept. 12, 1S56. 
Hon. J as. Brooks, 

My dear Sir : I am sorry to see by the papers that you 
were ill; but I hope nothing serious as we can not spare 
you now. 

You can not reason with fanaticism, and therefore the 
best mode of meeting the attacks upon me for signing the 
Fugitive Slave Act is to show that the Republicans voted 
to extend the Slave Act over Kansas & Nebraska. I sent 
you this vote on the 8th under my frank but do not see it 
published. What is the objection? I send another copy. 
In haste, Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Geo. H. Richmond, New York City. 


Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 29, 1856. 

Dear Sir: Your two favors of the 25th inst., have just 
come to hand, and furnish additional evidence that I am con- 
stantly misrepresented both North and South. In the North 
I am charged with being a Pro-Slavery man, seeking to 
extend slavery over free territory, and in the South, I am 
accused of being an Abolitionist. But I am neither, and as 
I have invariably refused to give any pledge, other than 
such as might be inferred from my known character and 
previous official conduct, I have not answered to the public 
any of these charges. If after all I have done, and all the 
sacrifices I have made to maintain the constitutional rights 
of the South, she still distrusts me, then I can only say that 
I hope she may find one more just and more fearless and 
self-sacrificing than I have been, and that, when found, she 
may show her gratitude by her confidence. And so of the 
North— if after all J have done to maintain her constitu- 


tional rights and advance her interests, she distrusts me, 1 
hope she may find one more worthy of her confidence, and 
bestow it accordingly. I shall have no regrets for myself 
in either case. I am only anxious that the country should 
be well governed, and that this unfortunate sectional con- 
troversy between the North and the South should be settled, 
and a fraternal feeling restored. But I apprehend that the 
difficulty is, that the extremes on each side want a President 
favoring their own peculiar views as against their oppon- 
ents. I cannot consent to be such a candidate for either side. 
I am for the whole Union, North and South, East and West, 
and if my countrymen will not accept me on those condi- 
tions, I shall not complain. 

The enclosed article, copied into the Richmond Whig 
from the Buffalo Commercial, speaks my sentiments on the 
Missouri Compromise. It may or may not suit your latitude ; 
but I have not one thing for the South and another for the 
North, and therefore I send it. 

In conclusion, permit me to express my sincere thanks 
for the kind interest you have manifested in my success as 
the candidate of the Union. I remember your lamented 
brother well, and was proud to call him my friend. I wish 
his valuable life could have been spared to us in this strug- 
gle to save our country. 

With sentiments of respect, 

I am truly and sincerely yours 

Millard Fillmore. 

P. S. I write in haste, without time to copy or correct. 


Buffalo, N. Y., October i, 1856. 

Hon. Edward Bates, 

Sir : Your letter of the 19th ult. came to hand day before 
yesterday, informing me that in a general convention of the 
W r higs of the United States, held at Baltimore on the 17th 
and 18th of the present month, I was honored by that con- 


vcntion by being- chosen with one voice as their candidate for 
the Presidency. 

Whilst some of my old Whig friends, whom I have 
always highly respected, and whose patriotism I am un- 
willing to doubt, are opposed to my election, and are en- 
gaged, some on the one side and some on the other, of po- 
litical parties which are sowing the seeds of alienation and 
distrust between different sections of our common country, 
and waging a sectional warfare tending to weaken, if not 
destroy the Union of these States, it is a source of inex- 
pressible gratification to me to receive the unanimous nomi- 
nation of the great representative body of the National 
Whigs of the United States — no less distinguished for their 
intelligence than for their patriotism — and I cheerfully ac- 
cept it with the profoundest emotions of gratitude and 

Although I am the known candidate of another party, yet 
1 can see nothing dishonorable in receiving the support of 
all Union-loving men, by whatever political denomination 
they may be known ; but I confess that I receive this flatter- 
ing testimonial of the continued confidence in my personal 
integrity and patriotism of my old Whig friends, with much 
more than ordinary satisfaction; and I trust that, if elected, 
I shall do nothing to disappoint the hopes or dishonor the 
preference of those who have so generously bestowed their 

With renewed expressions of my high respect for your- 
self, personally, and my veneration for the intelligent and 
patriotic body over which you presided, I am, sir, 
Your friend and fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 

[To Edward Bates, St. Louis, Mo.] 


Buffalo, N. Y., Nov. 24, 1856. 
Gentlemen : I am honored by the receipt of your flat- 
tering letter of the 7th giving the only consolation which a 


defeated candidate can expect, or even desire, in the assur- 
ance that though beaten, he has not lost the confidence and 
esteem of his friends. 

Personally, I have nothing to regret in the result. The 
little mortification I might feel at being so unanimously re- 
jected by my countrymen, is more than counterbalanced by 
the assurance that there are at least two men more deserving 
of the confidence of the people than myself. ] envy not un- 
successful rivals ; but sincerely hope that the one on whom 
the people have conferred the highest honors of the Re- 
public, may so discharge the responsible duties of his ex- 
alted station as to restore peace and harmony to the con- 
flicting sections, and maintain the honor and glory of the 
nation. If this be done, I can cheerfully forgive all my 
enemies for the falsehoods which they have published against 
me, by misrepresenting my sentiments, both North and 

I have marked this letter private, because I do not wish 
to appear in the public prints, but nothing can extinguish 
the feelings of gratitude which warm my breast towards 
those friends who have so nobly sustained me as the repre- 
sentative of our cause during the late canvass. My prayer 
is that they may be appreciated and rewarded as their pa- 
triotism deserves ; but for myself, I consider my political 
career at an end and have nothing further to ask. 

I am, Gentlemen, your friend and fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore. 

The above letter was addressed to a party committee. 

[December 5, 1S56, Mr. Fillmore wrote from Buffalo to Erastus Corning, 
urging him to accept the position of Secretary of the Treasury, if offered to 
him. This letter was sold at auction in Boston, Apr. 26, 1904; its present 
ownership is not known to the editor.] 


Buffalo, December 15, 1856. 

My dear Sir: Your favor of the nth inst. together- with 
a copy of your preliminary report to the Navy Department 
on your exploring expedition to "La Plata," came duly to 


hand ; for which I beg you to accept my most sincere thanks. 

1 have read the report with great interest. It shows that 
you have accomplished a very important work ; and I hope 
Congress will provide the means of enabling you to give the 
result to the world in a manner creditable to yourself and 
the country. 

I regret to say that my maps of that country are not very 
good, but you will now be enabled to give us one of great 
value; and I trust that the commercial enterprise of the 
country, aided by the General Government, will avail itself 
of your labors to extend our commerce into those fruitful 

Upon the whole, I congratulate you and the country upon 
the success of your undertaking. 

Your duties have been arduous and privations great; but 
you have surmounted every difficulty and are entitled to the 
thanks of the country, if not to a more significant manifesta- 
tion of its gratitude. I am now satisfied that the expedition 
was wiselv ordered, and its conduct committed to the right 

marL • ' ' I am. truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore 
Commander Thomas J. Page. 

In 1S51 Captain Thomas Jefferson Page, a Virginian who had already dis- 
tinguished himself in the naval service, was given command of the Water 
Witch, and sent on an exploring expedition to the valley of La Plata, with full 
diplomatic powers to form commercial treaties with the South American states 
in that region. The first part of the expedition consumed three years. Com- 
mander Page-'s report gave great satisfaction to the Government; and the enter- 
prise as a whole may be reckoned as one of the substantial achievements of 
Mr. Fillmore's Administration. 


Buffalo, February 16, 1857 

A. J. INI. Browne, Esq. 

My dear Sir : I have your favor of the 9th enclosing an 
invitation to be present at the Washington Anniversary and 
Harrison Monument Ball, on the 2$d, and regret exceedingly 
that it is out of my power to accept it. 


I, am happy to see that the citizens of Cincinnati are de- 
termined to honor themselves by doing honor to their illus- 
trious statesman, Gen. Harrison, 

I am, your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore 

The object of the ball to which Mr. Fillmore was invited, was to raise 
funds for a proposed monument to General Harrison. Mr. Fillmore's letter 
was addressed to the chairman of the committee of arrangements, at Cincinnati. 


Buffalo, N. Y., April 17, 1857. 

Gentlemen: I am honored by the receipt of your letter 
of the 6th inst., announcing- the completion of the Memphis 
and Charleston Railroad, and kindly tendering the hospital- 
ity of the city of Memphis, on the 1st and 2d days of May 
next, when this auspicious result will be celebrated. 

I have a most pleasant recollection of my brief stay in 
your beautiful and hospitable city, in the spring of 1854, and 
nothing would give me more pleasure than to join with you 
in heartfelt congratulations at the completion of that iron 
chain which binds — I trust in indissoluable bonds — the 
Mississippi to the Atlantic. But I regret to say that it is 
out of my power, and I can only return you and the citizens 
of Memphis my cordial thanks for inviting me to be present 
on such an interesting occasion. I am, gentlemen, your 
obedient servant. 

Millard Fillmore 

To Messrs. Robertson, Topp, and others, committee. 

Printed, Memphis Eagle and Enquirer, May, 1857 

undisturbed by personal attacks. 

Washington, March 29, 1857. 
Sir: I am, this morning, in receipt of your favor of the 
27th inst., in relation to the publication of advertisements 
in the New Bedford Mercury. 


The explanation is entirely satisfactory. The attack on 
myself, did not disturb my equanimity in the least, but 
friends often suspect, something- wrong when they see the 
patronage of the Government bestowed on one who is 
abusing it. 

Yours truly, 

Millard Fillmore. 

P. Greel[e]y, Jr., Esq., Boston, Mass. 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Charles E. Goodspeed, Boston. 


Buffalo, N. Y. Feb. ist [1858] 

Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter of the 15th ult., inviting me to be present 
at the elevation of the statue of Washington to its position 
on the "Virginia Washington Monument," in the city of 
Richmond, on the 22nd day of February inst, and regret 
exceedingly that my engagements are such as to deprive me 
of the pleasure of accepting your invitation. 

Your State is justly entitled to great credit for erecting 
this noble monument to her peerless son, as a triumph of 
gratitude to his memory. But the fame of Washington is 
more enduring than monumental brass and sculptured 
marble; and when that proud pile of granite shall have 
crumbled to the dust, and that beautiful bronze statue with 
which it is crowned shall be exhibited as an ancient relic in 
some future museum, the name of Washington will shine 
with increased lustre on the brightest page of his country's 
history. Surely, then, nothing which I could do or say 
could add to this undying fame ; but, nevertheless, I should 
rejoice to testify by my presence, my deep veneration and 
profound respect for the character of Washington. 

Perhaps there never was a time when his unselfish ex- 
ample and prophetic warnings were of more importance to 
his country than now. The Union which he sacrificed so 


much tfo establish, is threatened; that warning- which Ik 
left as a paternal legacy to his country is slighted, and a 
growing discontent, North and South, cannot fail to create 
anxiety in the breast of every true patriot. 

And at a time like this I should rejoice to meet my coun- 
trymen from all parts of this wide-spread Republic, at the 
Monument of Washington, reared by his own native State, 
and there, upon that sacred altar, as children of our revo- 
lutionary sires, pledge for ourselves, "our lives and our 
sacred honors," to maintain this Government, and "to frown 
indignantly upon the first dawning of any attempt to alienate 
any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the 
sacred ties which now link together the various parts." 

I beg of you, gentlemen, to accept my grateful thanks for 
the honor you have done me by deeming me worthy of an 
invitation to be present on this interesting occasion ; and 
permit me to subscribe myself 

Your friend and fellow citizen, 

Millard Fillmore 

Addressed to the committee of reception, etc., Richmond, Va. 


Buffalo, May 17, 1858. 

Dr. Henry P. Welling. 

Dear Sir: I have your letter of the 12th inst. enclosing 
your draft on the Trenton Banking Company for Five hun- 
dred dollars ($500) — being collections for Mrs. Fillmore 
for which I return both her thanks and my own. Will you 
do me the favor to send me a list of the demands left with 
you for collection with the amount collected of each, as I 
find myself quite in tire dark on this subject. I regret to 
hear of your illness but am happy to hear that you are con- 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

MS. collections, Buffalo Historical Society. 




Buffalo, Nov. 5, 1859. 

Dear Sir : A public meeting was called at St. James 
Hotel, Buffalo, on the fourth of November, 1859. The Hon. 
Millard Fillmore was called to preside and George R. Bab- 
cock, Esq., was appointed secretary. 

Upon motion of Orlando Allen, Esq., and seconded by 
Benjamin H. Austin, it was resolved. That a committee of 
fifteen persons be named by the chairman to examine at 
their leisure and report upon the practicability of the project 
submitted by Mr. Germain, and that the secretary, at the 
request of said committee, be authorized to call a meeting for 
the purpose of receiving' and considering said report. 

At a subsequent day, the chairman named the following 
gentlemen as the committee under the foregoing resolution : 
Capt. Thomas A. Budd, William C. Young, Prof. George 
Hadley, Capt. D. P. Dobbins, Engineer David Bell, Engineer 
Charles D. Dclaney, Capt. Jacob Banta. Capt. Frederick A. 
Jones, Engineer William Moses, the Rev. A. T. Chester, 
Engineer William Allen, Engineer E. H. Reese, Civil-Engi- 
neer Peter Emslie, Prof. Charles E. W r est, the Hon. N. K. 

You will receive notice of the time and place of the first 
meeting of the committee. 

Millard Fillmore, 


George R. Babcock, Secretary. 

The above call was published in the Buffalo papers, and sent to many citi- 
zens. On November 4, 1S59, Mr. Fillmore presided, at St. James Hall, over a 
meeting of Buffalo citizens who had become interested in the claims of Kollin 
Germain of Buffalo, the promoter of a steamship model by which he claimed 
vessels could run a hundred miles an hour, and cross the Atlantic in a day and 
a quarter. For the lakes, he had devised an iron-hull craft, n thousand feet 
long, propelled by six wheels, three on each side; she was to carry 3000 tons 
of freight, and 3000 passengers at a speed of fifty miles an hour. Numerous 
other features, possibly more startling in 1859 than they would be today, were 
a part of the project, all so effectively presented in a series of lectures, that 
the shrewd, harddieaded men of Buffalo appointed a committee of fifteen, with 
Mr. Fillmore as chairman, to investigate and report. The scientific examination 


was entrusted to the very competent hands of Dr. Charles E. West. Some 
•week* later Mr. Fillmore issued tic following: 

The Committee appointed in November la«t to examine the drawings and 
specifications of Rollin Germain, Esq., for a steam vessel on a new plan, having 
notified me that they had performed the duties assigned them, and were ready 
to report, I hereby notify the citizens of Buffalo that a meeting will be held at 
the Old Court House, on Saturday next, the nth of February, at ;Vi o'clock 
in the evening, to hear and consider said report. 

Millard Fillmore, 
Chairman of former meeting. 
Buffalo, Feb. 9, i860. 

At a final meeting, Feb. 13th, Dr. West made an elaborate and very sensible 
report, adverse to any endorsement of Mr. Germain's schemes; and Mr. Fill- 
more felt called on to explain his connection with the affair, "lie was un- 
acquainted with the practical merits of the subject," he said, "and in taking 
the part he had in the meetings, was only governed by his desire to in 
procuring for the project that careful investigation which it deserve!, and 
from his wish to aid every undertaking which would enure to the interest of 
our city." 



Buffalo, Dec. 16, 1859. 

Gentlemen : Your letter of the 13th reached me yester- 
day, inclosing- a call for a public meeting in New York City, 

"The North and the South — Justice and Fraternity" 
and inviting me to be present on the occasion. 

As no time is specified, I hasten to respond by saying that 
the objects of the meeting have my most hearty approval, 
but I have long since withdrawn from any participation in 
politics beyond that of giving my vote for those whom I 
deem the best and the safest men to govern the country ; 
and I have uniformally, since I was at the head of the gov- 
ernment, declined all invitations to attend political meetings ; 
yet, in view of the stormy aspect and threatening tendency 
of public events, did I feel that my presence at your meet- 
ing could, in the least, tend to allay the growing jealousy 
between the North and the South, I should, at some personal 
inconvenience, accept your invitation, and cordially join you 
in admonishing the country, North and South, to mutual 
forbearance toward each other, and to cease crimination and 
recrimination on both sides, and endeavor to restore again 
that fraternal feeling and confidence which have made us a 
great and happy people. 

But it seems to me that if my opinions are of any im- 
portance to my countrymen, they now have them in a much 
more responsible and satisfactory form than I could give 
them by participating in the proceedings of any meeting. 
My sentiments on this unfortunate question of slavery, and 



the constitutional right.- of the South in regard to it, have 
not changed since they were made manifest to the whole 
country by the performance of a painful duty in approving 
and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law. What the Consti- 
tution gives 1 would concede at every sacrifice. I would not 
seek to enjoy its benefits without sharing its burthens and 
its responsibilities. I know of no other rule of political 
right or expediency. Those were my sentiments then — they 
are my sentiments now. I stand by the Constitution of my 
country at every hazard, and am prepared to maintain it at 
every sacrifice. 

Here I might stop ; but since I have yielded to the im- 
pulse to write, I will not hesitate to express, very briefly, my 
views on one or two events which have occurred since I re- 
tired from office, and which, in all probability, have given 
rise to your meeting. This I can not do intelligently without 
a brief reference to some events which occurred during" my 

All must remember that in 1849 an ^ 1850 the country was 
severely agitated on this disturbing question of slavery. 
That contest grew out of the acquisition of new territory 
from Mexico, and a contest between the North and the 
South, as to whether Slavery should be tolerated in any part 
of that Territory. Mixed up with this, was a claim on the 
part of the slaveholding states, that the provision of the 
Constitution for the rendition of fugitives from service 
should be made available, as the law of 1793 on that subject, 
which depended chiefly on State officers for its execution, 
had become inoperative because State officers were not 
obliged to perform that duty. 

After a severe struggle, which threatened the integrity 
of the Union, Congress finally passed laws settling these 
questions; and the Government and the people for a time 
seemed to acquiesce in that compromise as a final settlement 
of this exciting question ; and it is exceedingly to be re- 
gretted that mistaken ambition or the hope of promoting a 
party triumph should have tempted any one to raise this 
question again. But in an evil hour this Pandora's box of 
Slavery was again opened by what T conceive to be an tin- 


justifiably attempt to force Slaver}- into Kansas by a repeal 
of the Slissouri Compromise, and the Hoods of evils now 
swelling and threatening to overthrow the Constitution, and 
sweep away the foundation of the Government itself, and 

delude the land with fraternal blood, may all be traced to 
this unfortunate act. Whatever might have been the motive, 
few acts have ever been so barren of good, and so fruitful 
of evil. 

The contest has exasperated the public mind, North and 
South, and engendered feelings of distrust, and, I may say, 
hate, that I fear it will take years to wear away. The la- 
mentable tragedy at Harper's Ferry is clearly traceable to 
litis unfortunate controversy about Slavery in Kansas, and 
while the chief actor of this criminal invasion has exhibited 
some traits of character that challenge our admiration, yet 
his fanatical zeal seems to have blinded his moral percep- 
tions, and hurried him into an unlawful attack upon the 
lives of a peaceful and unoffending community in a sister 
State, with the evident intention of raising a servile insur- 
rection, which no one can contemplate without horror; and 
few, I believe very few, can be found, so indifferent to the 
consequences of his acts, and so blinded by fanatical zeal, as 
not to believe that he justly suffered the penalty of the law 
which he had violated. 

I can not but hope that the fate of John Brown and his 
associates, will deter all others from any unlawful attempt 
to interfere in the domestic affairs of a sister State. But 
this tragedy has now closed, and Virginia has vindicated the 
supremacy of her laws, and shown that she is quite compe- 
tent to manage her own affairs, and protect her own rights. 
And thanks to an Overruling Providence, the question about 
Slavery in Kansas is now also settled, and settled in favor 
of Freedom. The North has triumphed, and having tri- 
umphed, let her, by her magnanimity and generosity to her 
Southern brethren, show that the contest on her part was 
one of principle, and not of personal hatred, or the low am- 
bition of a sectional triumph. 

Finally, if I had the power to speak, and there were any 
disposed to listen to my counsel, I would say to my brethren 


of the South : Be not alarmed, for there are few, very few, 
at the North who would justify in any manner an attack 
upon the institutions of the South which are guaranteed bv 
the Constitution. We are all anti-Slavery in sentiment, but 
we know that we have nothing" to do with it in the several 
states, and we do not intend to interfere with it. And I 
would say to my brethren of the North, respect the rights 
of the South; assure them by your acts that you regard 
them as friends and brethren. And I would conjure all in 
the name of all that is sacred, to let this agitation cease with 
the causes which have produced it. Let harmony be re- 
stored between the North and the South, and let every 
patriot rally around our national flag, and swear upon the 
altar of his country to sustain and defend it. 
I am, with great respect, 

Your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore 

Messrs. Sam'l L. M. Barlow, Wilson G. Hunt, 
and James Brooks, Committee, &c. 

Following the Harper's Ferry raid and execution of John Brown, many 
Northern cities held "Union" meetings; the greatest of them— said to have 
beer, the largest civic assemblage in America, up to that time— was held, Dec. 
19, 1859, in the Academy of Music, New York City, with thousands filling ad- 
jacent streets, unable to enter. The foregoing letter from Mr. Fillmore was 
read, as were letters from ex-Presidents Van Buren and Fierce, Gen. Winfxeld 
S. Scott, and other prominent men. Among the speakers were Charles 
O'Conor, Washington Hunt, and James Brooks, the last-named presenting a 
long series of resolutions, in which the meeting declared that "we regard the 
recent outrage at Harper's Ferry as a crime not only against the State of Vir- 
ginia, but against the Union itself"; "that in our opinion the subject of slavery 
has been too long mingled with party politics," and that it is the duty of every 
citizen "to discountenance all parties and organizations that thus violate the 
spirit of the Constitution and the advice of Washington." This was called by 
a portion of the press, a "vindication of Northern sentiment," but sentiment 
shifted rapidly in that crisis, and many who in 1859 could not find words bitter 
enough to express their condemnation of the abolitionists, changed front entirely 
long before the end of the war. 


Buffalo, Feb. 2, 1S60. 

Gentlemen: Your letter of the 30th ult., inviting me to 
attend a meeting of the Constitutional Union Association on 


the 4th in-st., has, this moment, come to hand, and I hasten to 
express my regret that it is not in my power to do so. 

You say the basis of your Association is "The Union, the 
Constitution, and the enforcement of the law" — noble ob- 
jects, which have my most, hearty approval. But yet I stu- 
diously avoid every appearance before the public, and can 
only add that I truly wish you success. 

Millard Fillmore 


My dear Sir: I thank you for the perusal of Air. Camp- 
bell's letter which I herewith return. He has not answered 
your question. He evidently could not: and I think few of 
the "fire eaters'* have thought so far. But it is evident that 
Mr. C. thinks "Secession" will not take place. God grant it 
may not. 

Yours truly, 

M i l la rd F illm ore 
March 24 [?i86o] 

THE old whig party. 

Buffalo, April 30, i860. 
R. McKinley Ormsby, Esq. 

Sir : Many unforeseen occurrences delayed the perusal 
of your work entitled "History of the Whig Party" ; but I 
have now 7 just finished it, and thank you most sincerely for 
the pleasure and instruction which I have derived from it. 

I profess to belong to no party but my country, and am 
taking no part in politics; but, though a silent, I am by no 
means an indifferent spectator of passing events. On the 
contrary, I look with the most intense anxiety, not to say 
alarm, upon the present state of things. It appears to me, 
that he must have read history to little profit who does not 
see, in the growing jealousy and hatred between the North 
and the South, the seeds of discord and civil strife, which 
may end in civil war and the destruction of this Govern- 


merit.., I am sure that no one can aver that there was more 
hatred between Great Britain and her Colonies ten, or even 
five years before our Revolution, than now exists between 
the North and the South ; and the cause, if cause there be, 
seems likely to endure. Demagogues, North and South, fan 
this flame for selfish and ambitious objects ; and the great 
masses, which are usually inert and passive, are likely to be 
drawn into the contest and sacrificed, nolens volens. May 
Heaven save us, for 1 fear we are unable or unwilling to 
save ourselves. 

While I cannot subscribe to all the views you have ad- 
vanced in your book, yet, in the main, I think its statements 
true and its conclusions correct ; and I wish it might receive 
a dispassionate perusal by every citizen North and South. 
I am sure it would do good. But the electioneering cam- 
paign is approaching which is not favorable for the investi- 
gation of truth or the exercise of reason ; and we may soon 
expect to see the country flooded with partisan productions, 
calculated to operate upon the prejudices and passions of 
the people, regardless of the welfare and honor of the coun- 
try. But, whether the people will read or forbear, you have 
told them many wholesome truths, for which I return you 
my sincere thanks. 

I am truly yours/ 

Millard Fillmore. 

R. McKinley Ormsby was a resident of Bradford, Yt. His "History of the 
Whig Party," etc. (ist ed. Boston: Crosby, Nichols & Co., 1S60; i2tno. pp. 
377. 2d ed. [ibid.}, 1S60), is an excellent narrative not only of the history of 
the Whig party, but of the formation of parties in the United States, with the 
main political events of the country, down to 1S60. 


Buffalo, July 23, i860. 

[To a committee, Aurora, N. Y.] 

I am honored by your kind invitation to join the citizens 
of Aurora in congratulations to their venerable citizen, 
Salem Town, Esq., and I can assure you that nothing could 


give me more pleasure than to accept it and T have kept it 
under advisement two days to see if I could not make my 
arrangements to do so; but I regret to say that I find it im- 
possible. It is but a few days since that my attention was 
called to Mr. Town's '"Analysis" and after looking it over 
I could not help feeling a pang of regret that such a work 
had not been put into my hands when a boy. It would have 
saved me much labor and perplexity, and would have aided 
the memory exceedingly in remembering the definition of 
words. I regard Mr. Town as a public benefactor, and 
should be most happy to testify my respect for him were it 
in my power. 

1 know I should enjoy great pleasure in meeting some 
old acquaintances whom I shall never forget though they 
may not remember me ; and I am a thousand times obliged 
to you for your proffered hospitality. 

Millard Fillmore. 

In the summer of 1860, the citizens of Aurora on Cayuga Lake held a 
public meeting in honor of the venerable Salem Town, author of numerous 
educational works, chief among them being the once famous "Analysis of the 
English Language." The occasion celebrated was Dr. Town's 87th birthday. 
Among the distinguished men invited to be present were Governor Seward, 
Edward Everett and Mr. Fillmore. The foregoing is Mr. Fillmore's letter in 
reply to the invitation. 

TOWN OF SPARTA, N. Y., IN 1814. 

Buffalo, July 28, i860. 
William Scott, Esq. 

My dear Sir : I was greatly obliged for your letter of the 
1 2th of May, in answer to mine of the 5th, giving me such 
information as I desired to confirm my recollections of what 
I saw in Sparta during my short residence there in 18 14, 
and on the 16th of May I made a draft in my letter-book to 
Mr, Doty, which is hereto annexed. 

But after I had finished my draft, I felt a reluctance 
about sending it, and permitted it to lie without copying, till 


within Jwo or three days, and while copying' it my repug- 
nance increased, and I finally concluded to send the letter to 
you, as an old confidential friend, and authorize you to give 
any of the information contained in it in your own language, 
which yon and Mr. Doty may deem of sufficient interest to 
justify it. 

I was born in Locke (now Summerbill), Cayuga Co., in 
1800, but my father removed to Sempronius (now Niles) in 
1802, and settled upon a farm about a mile west of Skane- 
ateles lake and ten miles from its outlet, where I lived, as 
long as I remained at home. The whole country was then 
new and my childhood was spent, as it were, in the forest. 

Benjamin Hungerford was our neighbor, engaged in the 
business of cloth-dressing, but about the year 1812 or 13, he 
sold out and removed to Sparta in your county, where he 
established himself in the same business. Early in the fall 
of 1814 he returned east for his supply of dye-woods, etc., 
and called at my father's and expressed a wish that I would 
go home with him and learn the trade of dressing cloth. 

The war was then raging with Great Britain, and my 
youthful imagination and ambition were much excited by 
what I heard from the soldiers who returned from the lines, 
and having an uncle and cousin on the Niagara frontier. I 
was anxious to try the life of a soldier and asked my father's 
permission to go for three months as a substitute for some 
one who was drafted; but he refused his assent and prob- 
ably with a view of directing my attention from so foolish 
a project induced Mr. Hungerford to ask me to go with him. 
At all events my father expressed a strong desire that I 
should go and I consented. 

My father's residence was not only in a new country, but 
quite remote from all the great thoroughfares of travel, and 
my life had been spent in obscurity. I knew nothing of the 
world, never having been absent from home for two suc- 
cessive days, nor formed the acquaintance of any beyond the 
few scattered neighbors of the vicinity. I felt a natural 
reluctance at leaving a tender and affectionate mother, but 
was buoyed up and sustained by the thought of doing some- 


thing for myself, and acting the part of a man. But the 
journey to me was a very long and tedious one. I do not 
know the distance but probably about ioo miles. Mr. Hun- 
ger ford had a poor team, heavily laden and the road much 
of the way was very bad; and the consequence was that I 
travelled most of the distance on foot and suffered with 
sore feet and stiffened limbs. I recollect little that arrested 
my attention on the way except the wildness of the country 
as we approached the end of our journey, and the extra- 
ordinary luxuriance of vegetation in the valley of the 
Canaseraga creek. 1' was indeed glad to reach Mr. Hunger- 
ford's residence, solitary and desolate as it appeared among 
the hills in an almost unbroken forest. But I required rest, 
and a new country had no terrors for me. Knowing nothing 
of the geography of the country, and never having been 
there since, I can only describe this locality by what I have 
since learned from others. It was in the town of East 
Sparta, and three miles northwest of the village of Dansville, 
or Sparta West Hill, on a small, rapid mill-stream, empty- 
ing into the Canaseraga creek, about a mile below. I under- 
stand that nothing of the old mill and shop remain but a 
part of the flume and darn : but that it is yet known as the 
Hungcrford Place, and is owned and occupied by a fanner 
by the name of Enos Hartman. 

Whatever may have been my vague dreams of ambition, 
I certainly had no thoughts of realizing them, and at that 
time I had no expectation of anything more than to acquire 
a good trade and to pursue it through life for a livelihood. 
I went with the understanding that I was to remain four 
months, and then, if we were both satisfied, we were to 
make further arrangements. But perhaps I expected too 
much. At any rate, the treatment which I received was very 
galling to my feelings, and has ever caused me to feel a 
deep sympathy for the youngest apprentice (even to the 
printer s devil) in every establishment. 

Instead of being set to work at my trade as I had antici- 
pated, I was required to chop wood and do all manner of 
servile labor and chores, and when I manifested some sur- 


prise and reluctance at this treatment, my murmurs were 
silenced by being told that this was the usage of the trade. 
I bore this for some time until I could, endure it no longer, 
and one day when I had been chopping in the woods I came 
into the shop a little before dark and was ordered by Mr. 
Hungcrford to go on the hill and cut some wood for the 
shop. I took the ax and as I went out of the door, said 1 did 
not come there expecting to give my time to learn to chop 
wood. I waited for no reply but went up the hill and 
mounted a log and commenced chopping. In a few minutes 
I saw Mr. Hungerford coming after me with his face evi- 
dently flushed with anger. As he approached he said: "Do 
you think yourself abused because you have to chop wood?" 
I replied, "Yes, I do, for I could learn to chop at home and 
I am giving my time to learn a trade; I am not satisfied 
and do not think my father will be." As I was angry, I pre- 
sume my manner as well as my language was not entirely 
respectful. At all events he charged me with impudence, 
and threatened to chastise me ; upon which I raised my ax 
and told him if he came near me I would knock him down. 
He stood silent a moment and then turned and walked off. 

Looking back for 46 years at this little incident of my 
boyhood, I am inclined to think that this was an unjustifi- 
able rebellion, or at least that my threat of knocking him 
down was going too far, for I fear I should have executed 
it; and my only justification or apology is that I have an 
inborn hatred to injustice and tyranny which 1 cannot re- 
press. Next day he asked me if I wished to go home. I 
replied that I came on trial for four months, and if I could 
be employed in learning the trade I was willing to stay; 
otherwise, I would return. He ^oid I might remain, and 
from that time my employment was more satisfactory. 

He had a large family of children, and the fare was not 
such as I had been accustomed to, and it required all my 
fortitude and patience to endure it; but I resolved to go 
through, and I was determined to accomplish what I had 
undertaken at every sacrifice of comfort. My pride was 
touched at the thought of an ignominious failure. 


lie had one older apprentice or hired man by the name 
of John Dunham, but our tastes did not agree, and he was 
no company for me. But, fortunately, the foreman of the 
shop was Win. Scott, still living- and residing in Scottsburg, 
in your county, who seemed born for a higher and better 
destiny, and whose merits, I am happy to hear, have in some 
measure been appreciated by his fellow-citizens. In him I 
found a friend and also a congenial companion, so far as 
such a boy could be a companion to a man of maturer years. 
I formed for him a friendship which I still cherish with 
grateful recollections. He was the only society which I 
enjoyed. I scarcely visited a neighbor, for only one or two 
were near enough to be acceptable to me. I neither saw 
book or newspaper, to my recollection. I attended no 
church, and think there was none in that vicinity, and I had 
no holiday except New Year's. On that day we all went 
down to Duncan's on the creek, 1 and there for the first time 
in my life I saw the rough sports of the season and place, 
such as raffling, whiskey-drinking and turkey-shooting, with 
occasional displays of athletic strength. 

I recollect that I was ushered into a room almost stifling 
with the fumes of whiskey and tobacco smoke, in one corner 
of which was a live turkey, and in the center a table sur- 
rounded by men who were greatly excited in raffling for the 
turkey. The game, as I recollect it, was this: The turkey 
was put up by the owner at a certain price — say four shil- 
lings, and then they put twelve cents into a hat and each 
shook them up and emptied them on the table three 
times, and he who turned the most heads in the three throws, 
won the turkey, but instead of taking it, he immediately put 
it up again at the same price, and the same process was gone 
over again; and this continued through the evening. I was 
urged to take a chance, and I did so once, and won the tur- 
key. I put him up again, pocketed the price, and have never 
gambled a cent since. 

The weather was warm for the season, and it had rained 
some during the day. We stayed till about midnight, and 

i. Afterwards called I'radner's creek. 


then started for borne. We had to go about a mile through 
a dark pine forest, and our path in many places ran near 
the precipitous bank of the little stream on which Hunger- 
ford's cloth-dressing establishment was situated. Only the 
underbrush had been cleared from the road, but the large 
trees were blazed to guide our way. As we had no lantern, 
we supplied ourselves with a torch of pine knots ; but we 
had not proceeded far when by some accident it was extin- 
guished, and I was sent back to light it again. This detained 
me longer than was anticipated, and when I got back to the 
spot where I left my companions, I found they had gone, 
and so I pursued my way alone. But by the time I had got 
half way through trie woods I was overtaken by a very sud- 
den and severe thunder storm, which extinguished my torch 
and left me in Egyptian darkness. I am sure I never saw a 
darker night. I looked up, but could not see the shade of a 
tree or opening. I moved my hand before my upturned face. 
but saw no shadow. The flashes of lightning for a moment 
revealed the dense forest around, and then all was impene- 
trable darkness. The thunder rolled terribly, and at inter- 
vals I could hear the dashing waters of the swollen stream 
below, warning me that I was near the precipice, beneath 
which they flowed. I dared not go forward for fear that I 
should be plunged headlong into the gulf beneath, and the 
thought of standing there all night in the cold, drenching 
rain was terrible. I had but one alternative, and that was to 
make my companions hear, if possible, and bring them back 
to my relief. I halloed several times with all my might, and 
at last heard a response. They had just reached home, but 
had not entered the house, when they heard me. The worst 
of the shower was soon over. They prepared a light and 
came back, and relieved me from my terrible situation. 

Some time in December or January I was sent on foot to 
Dansville for some groceries for sickness. I cannot fix the 
time, but I recollect that there were two or three inches of 
snow on the ground, and I went what seemed to me a very 
circuitous route. By the time I had purchased my stores it 
was nearly sundown, and I inquired if there was no nearer 


way back than the one which I came, and was told that there 
was an unfrequented path through the shrubby pine forest 
much nearer. I accordingly took it, and found the track of 
a single person, which I followed without difficulty; but just 
after dark, to my surprise, I came to the Canaseraga creek, 
which was not frozen sufficiently to bear me, and there was 
no bridge. There had once been a wooden bridge, built on 
cobble horses for abutments on each bank, but it was all gone 
except the cobble horses and one string piece. 1 Just then I 
heard the wolves howl, and presume they were on my track. 
I looked down into the dark waters of the creek and could 
see very little, but could hear the ice crack as though a rising 
flood was breaking it up. I looked at the solitary string piece 
across the dark abyss, covered with snow, and concluded I 
could not safely walk it. I could not turn back for I had not 
even a cane with which to fight the wolves. 1 felt that if I 
was once across that gulf I should be safe, and that there 
was but one mode of accomplishing it. and that was to climb 
up the cobble horse, sit down on the string piece and hitch 
myself across; and this I did, and arrived safely at home, 
thankful for my escape. 

I can add little in reference to the people. I remember a 
Mr. Baird owned a saw mill above Hungerford's on the 
same stream. The Duncans and a Mr. MoNair lived on the 
flats, but I had no acquaintance with them. Jonathan 
Weston, however, a brother-in-law of Hungerford and a 
son-in-law of Gen. Daniel Shays of insurrectionary memory, 
lived near Hungerford and I had known Weston before he 
went there and recollect calling at his house and seeing 
General Shays there and being greatly disappointed in his 
personal appearance. He seemed to me a very common man 
and I could but wonder how he had become so famous, for 
it was as common when I was a boy to hurrah for Shays as 
it has been since to hurrah for Jackson. But one was in- 
tended as a joke whereas the other was sober earnest. 

About the middle of January, 1815, my probation of four 
months being ended, I shouldered my musket and on foot 

This bridge was built by Capt. Charles Williamson, at what was after- 
wards Commonsville. 


and alone returned to my father's house, not exactly like the 
prodigal son, but scarcely less gratified to get home and fullv 
resolved never to go back. But since then I have formed 
many pleasant acquaintances in your county and have en- 
joyed many pleasant visits to other parts of it, but I have 
never revisited the scenes of my boyhood, though I confess 
I should like to do so. Respectfully yours. 

Millard Fillmore. 

The foregoing narrative was written by Mr. Fillmore, probably at the re- 
quest of his friend William Scott, who was preparing a historical sketch of 
West Sparta for Lockwood L. Doty's "History of Livingston County." A por- 
tion of Mr. Fillmore's letter appears in that work. Mr. Scott says: "I met 
young Fillmore the morning after his arrival, and at once took a liking to him. 
He was dressed in a suit of homespun sheep's-gray coat and trousers, wool hat 
and stout cowhide boots, but his appearance was very tidy. His light hair was 
long, his face was round and chubby, and his demeanor was that of a bright, 
intelligent, good-natured lad, quite sedate, rather slow in his motions, with an 
r-ir of thoughtfulness that gained my respect." The original manuscript of this 
letter to Mr. Scott was sent, at the time of Mr. Fillmore's death, by W. H. C. 
Hosraer of Avon, to the Rochester Union and Adx crliser, in which it was 
printed, Mch. 13, 1874. Some of the incidents are retold in the "Autobiog- 
raphy" which Mr. Fillmore wrote in 1S71. {See I. Fillmore, pp. 1-16.) In the 
fail of i860 Mr. Fillmore visited the Hungerford place in Sparta with Mr. 
Scott. "The mill where he had worked was gone, and the site overgrown with 
tangled brushwood." (Hosmer.) He returned to Dansville and by invitation 
addressed the citizens in the Academy. No adequate report of the speech is 


Saratoga Springs, Aug't. 23d i860. 

C. Town send, Esq. 

Sir: Yours of the 21st has just reached me here, and in 
reply to your inquiry permit me to state, that I was born in 
Summerhill, Cayuga Co., N. Y., on the 7th of January 1S00. 
But I regret to say that I can furnish you no information as 
to the time of births of the other Presidents. Surgeon Wood 
of Baltimore is a son in law of Prest. Taylor and may be 
able to give you the desired information. 
Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 

Original MS. owned by the Public Library, Utica, N. Y. 



Buffalo, Wednesday, Sept. 5, i860. 

To the Prince of Wales: 

The citizens of Buffalo, understanding that Your Royal 
Highness contemplates visiting some portions of the United 
States, have appointed a committee to invite you, if con- 
venient, to take in Buffalo in your route. 

That committee, in obedience to the desire of our citi- 
zens, is happy to extend to Your Royal Highness a most 
cordial invitation to visit our city at such time as may suit 
your convenience. 

While our people, as an independent nation, cannot be 
supposed to feel that loyalty which has been enthusiastically 
and justly expressed in Canada, yet there is a bond of sym- 
pathy between the United States and Great Britain arising 
from their common origin, consanguinity, language, and 
literature, and the great similarity of their religion, laws, 
and government, differing more in form than in substance, 
and more especially from the proximity of our city to Her 
Majesty's colonial possessions, and the friendly and social 
intercourse existing among the people, which will, we are 
confident, insure Your Highness a most cordial welcome by 
our citizens; and the committee, without any burdensome 
ceremonial or ostentatious display, will be most happy to 
show to Your Royal Highness whatever may interest a 
stranger in our young but growing city. 

Should this invitation be accepted, the committee would 
esteem it a favor to be informed at as early a day as possible 
of the time fixed by Your Royal Highness for the visit. 

With assurance of the high regard and consideration of 
the committee, I have the honor to be Your Highness's most 
obedient servant, 

M 1 llard Fi l l m or e, 


During his American tour in i860 the Prince of Wales visited Niagara 
Falls, Canadian side, and on Sept. 14th inspected the ruins at Fort Eric. 
Thousands from Buffalo gathered on the Canadian battlefield, and the Prince 


accepted Abe escort of the Buffalo Light Dragoons and the staff of the 74th 
Regiment, New York State militia; hut he did not visit Buffalo. 
The following was received in reply to Mr. Fillmore's letter: 

Government House, Toronto, 

September 11, i860. 
Sir: I have received your letter of the 5th of September, and have bid it 
before the Prince of Wales. His Royal Highness regrets exceedingly that the 
arrangements already made and the shortness of the time at his disposal will 
prevent him from accepting your invitation, for which His Royal Highness feels 
much obliged. 

The reasons for his not doing so have been most fully explained to the 
gentlemen composing the deputation. 

The Prince of Wales is greatly gratified by a letter from so eminent a 
person as yourself, as he is pleased to have received the invitation of the 
citizens of Buffalo. 

I am Sir, your very obedient servant, 

To the Hon. Millard Fillmore. 


Buffalo, Dec. 19, i860. 
Hon. John A. Dix. 

My dear Sir: Your favor of the 17th inst., inclosing- the 
proceedings of a "Union meeting," held on Saturday even- 
ing, in New York, did not reach me until yesterday after- 

I have read the whole proceedings with great interest, 
and I cannot feel otherwise than flattered that the distin- 
guished and patriotic men composing that meeting thought 
me worthy to compose one of a delegation of three "to pro- 
ceed to the South, with a view to make such explanations 
to our Southern brethren in regard to the subjects em- 
braced in the address and resolutions (adopted by the meet- 
ing) as they may deem necessary, and to give such further 
assurances as may be needed to manifest our determination 
to maintain their rights." 

This is certainly an honorable and patriotic mission, and 
did I believe it could do any good, I should not hesitate a 
moment to undertake it. But you will pardon me for saying 
frankly that, in my opinion, our Southern brethren require 
no assurances beyond that of the meeting, and the address 
and resolutions, to convince them that the members of that 
meeting and those they represented, now are, and at all 


times have been willing to do them justice, and have done 
their utmost to maintain their constitutional rights, and to go 

there and inform them merely of this fact, which is all we 
can do, is in my opinion a work of supererogation. 

What they want, and what I want, is some assurance 
from the Republican party, now dominant at the North, that 
they, or at least the conservative portion of them, are ready ■ 
and willing to come forward and repeal all unconstitutional 
state laws; live up to the compromises of the Constitution, 
execute the laws of Congress honestly, and faithfully, and 
treat our Southern brethren as friends. When I can have 
any such reliable assurances as this to give, I will go most 
cheerfully and urge our Southern brethren to follow our 
example, and restore harmony and fraternal feelings be- 
tween the North and the South. 

At present, our labors should be here. Let us put our- 
selves right, and then we can with more confidence and jus- 
tice appeal to them ; and I am happy to say that recent in- 
dications lead me to hope that this may be done. I am 
especially grateful to see the patriotic and sensible article in 
the Albanv Journal of last Monday. Standing, as the senior 
editor of that paper does, at the head of his party, it re- 
quired great moral courage and good sense and devoted 
patriotism to indite and publish such an article. But I re- 
gard it as evidence that there are men in the Republican 
party, who have been regarded as most ultra, who see the 
danger that threatens, and are willing to sacrifice all false 
pride, and even party itself to save the country. I cannot 
doubt that there are many more such, and from that source 
I look for the salvation of the country. But I cannot say 
more. I have written in the utmost haste, that a substitute 
may be appointed in my place. I am truly yours 

Millard Fillmore. 

On Dec. 15, i860, a meeting, ostensibly of merchants, was held in a Pine- 
street office, New York City, "to consult as to the best means to be adopted to 
avert the danger now threatening the Union, and to assure to the South suf- 
ficient protection to their constitutional rights within the Union." Ex-President 
Van Buren and numerous prominent Democratic politicians were present. Al- 
though claiming to be non-partisan, the meeting voiced the sentiments of the 
Democratic party; its chief result was a request to ex-President Fillmore to visit 


South Carolina "as commissioner from New York to exhort temperate action and 
delay" on the part of the f> rmer State. Mr. Fillmore's reply was withheld b> 
the committee, on the ground that it was not intended for publication. At 
length, however, on Jan. 22, 1861, it appeared in the New York World, as above 


Buffalo, Jany 18, 1861. 

Gentlemen: I have your flattering invitation to attend 
a meeting- of the Citizens of New York at the Cooper Insti- 
tute on Monday next, but. regret to say that it is out of my 
power to accept it. 

I am Respectfully 

your obt. servt. 

Millard Fillmore 

Messrs. T. Bailey Myers, E. J. Brown & others, 

Committee &c. 

MS. collections, New York Public Library, Lenox branch. 


Buffalo, Jan. 28, 1861. 

My dear Sir: I have your favor of the 22d and am happy 
to hear you say that "All men capable of Statesmanship 
have learned that there is a wide difference between con- 
testing for power and wielding it." If the Republican party 
should appreciate this sentiment in time and act upon it, they 
may save the Union, but I fear that a majority can never be 
brought to take so sensible a view. Most men have but one 
idea, and if that gives a wrong prejudice there is no help. 
I am not one of those who is disposed to impute the whole 
blame for the calamities which have fallen upon the country 
exclusively to the North or the South — both have been to 
blame, nor am I disposed to censure any of my old political 
friends for the course which they took at the last election; 
they doubtless acted conscientiously, and did what they 


thought best Tor the country. But knowing what I did of 
the temper of the South I feared the result which we now 
witness, and so warned my friends in 1856. But I know 
that they did not have the same apprehension. But while I 
feared and predicted this — and at all times have done what 
I could to avoid it — yet I by no means approve of the course 
of the seceding States. I think their acts are suicidal and 
wholly unjustifiable. I have great confidence in President 
Lincoln's conservatism, integrity and patriotism, and could 
this unfortunate rebellion have been delayed for 6 months 
after his inauguration, I think it would have been morally 
impossible. But I greatly fear that all is lost! Still I try to 
believe in the old Roman maxim, Never to despair of the 

I have read with great interest and satisfaction the article 
from the Princeton Review, and must say that my old 
friend Thurlow Weed, for the course he has recently taken, 
deserves the thanks of his country, and for it I am ready to 
forgive him all his hostility to me and my administration. 

With sentiments of respect, 

I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Hon. James O. Putnam. 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Harvey Putnam, Buffalo. 



IN 1862 







/re t , 

From a Signed Photograph in the Possession of the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 




IN 1862 

An interesting phase of Buffalo's Civil War history of 
which little has been recorded was the organization of the 
•'Committee of Public Defense," in January, 1862. On 
January 2d a printed circular was distributed to 350 of the 
principal citizens of Buffalo, inviting them to a meeting at 
the old Court House on the following day. It was signed by 
Air. Fillmore, as chairman, together with William G. Fargo, 
Nelson Randall and Watson A. Fox. 1 At the meeting on the 
evening of the 3d, attended by "as many as could gain ac- 
cess," Mr. Fillmore was made permanent chairman of the 
committee, and stated on taking the chair that the object of 
the organization was to take such measures as were possible 
for the defense of the city in case of a war with Great 
Britain. That this contingency was very seriously appre- 
hended in Buffalo at the time, there is no doubt. As chair- 
man, Mr. Fillmore signed the memorials which were ad- 

1. The members of the Committee, besides Mr. Fillmore, were: William 
G. Fargo, Nelson Randall, George R. Babcock, Watson A. Fox, S. V. R. 
Watson, Solomon Scheu, Bronson C. Rumsey, Henry W. Rogers. John 
Allen, Jr., N. K. Hall, Edward Storck, John Wilkeson, E. P. Dorr, William 
A. Bird and John E. McMahon. 


.. o/l 


Buffalo, January 2,' 1862. 

Sir : There will be a meeting of the citizens of Buffalo, 
at the old Court House, on Friday evening, January 3d, at 8 
o'clock, to take into consideration the subject of the defense 
of our city and frontier, and calling the attention of our 
State Legislature, to the necessity of an appropriation for 
the equipment of our home Militia, placing them in a condi- 
tion for any emergency, as well as furnishing the arms, am- 
munitions, and accoutrements, our position seems to require. 

You are respectfully invited, and urged to be present. 

Millard Fillmore 
[and others.] 

1. All of these statistics, with the correspondence and memorials here 
printed, are preserved in the original record-book of the '"Buffalo Committee 
of Public Defense," now owned by the Buffalo Historical Society. The 
editor finds no mention of this committee or its efforts for the protection 
of Buffalo, in any of the local histories. 


dressed to the State Legislature and to Congress, and wrote 
to the Governor of the State, to the Secretary of War and to 
Buffalo's Members of Congress. These documents, which 
follow, well indicate the scope of the work which was ac- 
complished by the committee. 

As the war went on, the local apprehension of invasion 
from Canada diminished, the energy of the community was 
turned to other channels and we hear no more of the Com- 
mittee of Defense. Several meetings, however, were held 
during January and February of 1862, and numerous sta- 
tistics collected, showing the importance of the lake and 
canal route, the eastward and westward shipments by rail 
through Buffalo, the location and capacity of dry docks and 
ship yards on the lakes, with various data relating to the 
Welland canal and lake marine in general. 1 



Buffalo, J any 8, 1862. 

His Excellency E. D. Morgan, Governor &c. 

Sir : Having been charged by the citizens of Buffalo with 
[the] duty of applying to the State and National authorities 
for the adoption of measures necessary to the defense of 
this city, and of the public works whose utility is dependent 
upon its safety, We beg leave respectfully to ask your Excel- 
lency as Governor and Commander-in-Chief and as Major 
General of Volunteers commanding this Military Depart- 
ment, to consider the defenseless condition of this city and 
the Niagara frontier and the dangers to which this city and 
the frontier and the Erie canal and other public works in 
the western part of the State would be exposed in the event 
of a war with Great Britain. To your Excellency we need 
not speak of the importance of our city, of the magnitude 
and value of the commerce [of] our lakes and of the Erie 
canal, or of the railroads of the State, or of their business, 
nor of their special importance in a military point of view. 
Their value, their extent and the revenues and profits de- 
rived therefrom to the State and its inhabitants as well as 
its advantages which result from their use to the General 
Government and the people of the western states, are well 
known to you, and we are confident you will be well dis- 
posed to exert your authority and influence for the advance- 
ment of suitable measures for the protection of public inter- 
ests, of such incalculable value and importance. 

At present this city and frontier are almost wholly with- 
out means of defense. Fort Porter, the only defensive work 
above Fort Niagara, has been entirely deprived of its partial 
armament to supply heavy ordnance to the Department of 
the West, and there are in the arsenal here and fit for actual 
service only two hundred muskets and ten pieces of field ar- 
tillery. In private hands there are but few arms, and those 
are mostly unsuited to military operations. The two militia 


regiments here are therefore without suitable arms and must 
remain small in numbers until the furnishing of arms, uni- 
forms and equipments shall enable them to make a respect- 
able appearance and oiler proper inducements to those who 
are willing to join an efficient military organization. To 
these we desire to add a battery of light and another [of] 
heavy artillery with army uniforms and equipments, com- 
plete, and if the State will furnish the arms, uniforms and 
equipments for this force we are confident the ranks may 
be speedily filled with the best class of recruits. 

In the defense of the frontier the State has a peculiar and 
special interest. The commerce of the lakes and the busi- 
ness of the Erie canal which depends upon that commerce 
have given the State much of its business, wealth and popu- 
lation, and the revenues of the canals, reaching nearly four 
millions the past season afford an income which the State 
should not allow to be put at hazard. The canal draws from 
the Niagara river in this city its principal supply of water 
to Rochester and sometimes further east, and an enterpris- 
ing enemy might in a few hours destroy enough of Black 
Rock Dam and harbor to render the canal useless for 

The combined locks at Lockport and the aqueducts at 
Rochester are believed to be equally open to attack and 
destruction by a hostile force. 

We beg leave therefore respectfully to ask that two full 
regiments of infantry in this city and one at Lockport and 
one or two at Rochester may be armed, uniformed and 
equipped, and that such provision be made for a small ar- 
tillery and cavalry force as may be deemed expedient by 
your Exc'y. Also that your Exy should recommend to the 
Legislature such measures as will enable you to provide 
such means of defense to this and other portions of the 
State as their condition and importance may require. 

For defensive works and heavy ordnance, including ship 
guns, and for depots at Oswego, Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland 
and Detroit, we intend to apply to the General Government. 


and respectfully ask that you should aid us in that applica- 
tion generally to procure ils appropriate action. 1 
We have the honor to he with great respect 
Your Mo Gbt Sevts 

Millard Fillmore 
[and o titers.] 


Buffalo, Jan. 10, 1862. 
Hon. Ira Harris, 

My dear Sir : Our citizens are exceeding anxious that 
something should be done immediately for the fortification 
of the frontier and the defense of our city, and the commit- 

1. To this communication Governor Morgan replied with the following 
letter (here printed from the original, owned by the Buffalo Historical Society) : 

Albany, January n, 1S62. 

Gentlemen: I received this morning your communication of the 8th in- 
stant in relation to the adoption of measures necessary for the defence of the 
City of Buffalo, and of the public property of that point; and also specially 
referring to the defenceless condition of the Niagara frontier and the dangers 
to the public works in Western New York, which a war with Great Britain 
would involve. 

I fully appreciate the magnitude of the interest you represent, and the 
importance of prosecuting the most vigorous policy in regard to our defences. 
I am resolved to use every exertion within my power to strengthen these as 
well at Buffalo, as on the entire line of our Lake and Sea coast; at the same 
time to reorganize the Militia at the earliest moment so as to secure effective- 
ness, and to provide, so far as possible, the necessary arms and munitions. As 
the General Government controls, both in this country and abroad, the supply 
of arms for infantry service, it is of the first importance to secure through 
the President or the War Department, sufficient for our purpose. The State 
has a limited supply of imported muskets of good quality which will have to 
be distributed to different portions of the State, according to a fixed rule. I 
would therefore recommend you to embrace in yonr application to the General 
Government a reasonable quantity of approved modern arms, and I assure you 
of my cordial co-operation to the extent of my ability, in carrying out the plan 
you have adopted. 

On Tuesday next, it is expected that the presiding officers of the two 
branches of the Legislature will announce the Standing Committees. 1 intend 
at once to invite the respective Military Committees to a conference and shall 
ask their prompt action in respect to providing means and authorizing the 
authorities to proceed at once to the work which it is the plain dictate of 
prudence to enter upon. I will submit to them your communication, which 
cannot but have much weight, but I deem it r.nadvisable to give it any greater 
publicity, in view of the peculiar nature of the facts it presents. 

1 have the honor to be with high regard, 

Your most obdt. servant 

E. D. Morgan. 
To the Honorables 

Millard Fillmore, Chairman [and others']- 


tec on that subject have addressed a memorial to the Presi- 
dent through the War Department, which I herewith en- 
close, with a request that you will do us the favor to preset n 
it in person and uri^e its immediate consideration of it, lest 
that in the pressure of business it be overlooked or neglected. 

Your attention to the matter will not only confer a great 
favor upon your constituents in Buffalo, but will be indi- 
rectly beneficial to the whole State. 

I am Truly and Respectfully Yours 

Millard Fillmore. 

Ira Harris v-as elec'td United States Senator by the New York Legislature 
in 1S61, succeeding William II. Seward. 


Buffalo, N. Y., Jan. 10, 1862. 

The Hon. S[imon] Cameron, 

Sec'y War &c &c 
Sir: The undersigned having been appointed by the citi- 

zens of Buffalo, in public meeting assembled, a Committee 
upon the defense of the City, beg leave most respectfully to 
address you, and through you, His Excellency, the Presi- 
dent of the United States, upon the subject committed to 
their charge. The mere possibility of a war with Great 
Britain and our present defenseless condition considered in 
connection with the acknowledged importance of this city, 
of the Erie Canal, the railroads and other public works 
directly and immediately therewith, the rapid concentration 
and the movement of our military forces, and their supply 
and maintenance in the field, would seem to require that tne 
National and State authorities should make early and ade- 
quate provision for the protection and security of this city 
and this neighborhood, and of the great national interests 
which would be placed at hazard in the event of war upon 
this frontier. The safety of this city is absolutely essential 
to the security of the commerce of the Great Northwestern 
Lakes, and to protect that commerce and to maintain the 


command of those lakes in the event of war would be objects 
of paramount importance. 

In the event of the invasion of Canada, this city would 
almost necessarily become the base of the most important 
operations against the Upper Province in connection with a 
simultaneous movement against Montreal and the Lower 

The great national importance of the interests to which 
we have invited your attention is too obvious to require argu- 
ment and yet it may be useful to state some facts to show 
the magnitude of the commerce centering here. 

Buffalo and Oswego are the great ports of delivery for 
the commerce of the Great Lakes, and through these lakes 
and ports (and in the event of war through the port of 
Buffalo alone) nearly all the bread stuffs and provisions, 
sent from the fertile fields of the Great West, for the supply 
of our armies, and to meet the demand for domestic con- 
sumption and foreign export, in the large cities of the sea- 
board must necessarily pass. 

During the year just closed more than 58,000,000 bushels 
of grain (reducing flour to wheat and meal to corn) were 
delivered in Buffalo alone. For the carriage of this grain 
and the general commerce of the Lakes and their connect- 
ing rivers (with over five thousand miles of continuous lake 
and river coast) there were employed during the past year 
(according to the Register of the Board of Lake Under- 
writers of American shipping) seventy-three steamers, one 
hundred and eighty-seven steam propellers, forty-five barks, 
seventy-one brigs, seven hundred and ninety-seven schoon- 
ers and five sloops, with an aggregate tonnage of three hun- 
dred and fourteen thousand, seven hundred & twenty-three 
tons (314,723), valued (at a low rate for insurance pur- 
poses) at nine million, five hundred and fifty-three thousand, 
three hundred and fifty dollars (9,553,350), and employing 
16,800 seamen ; and of British shipping, j6 steamers, 21 
propellors, 18 barks, 16 brigs, 200 schooners and five sloops, 
having an aggregate tonnage of 71,505 tons; valued at $2,~ 
414,600 and employing more than 2,700 seamen. 


Many, and it is believed that most, of the American 
vessels might in a short time, if proper armaments co 

be supplied, be converted into serviceable war vessels; and 
our seamen who in intelligence, activity and skill are at 
least equal to the seamen of the seaboard, could under the 
drill of competent officers be readily fitted for service at the 
guns and as first-class seamen on vessels of war. The value 
of the property transported upon these lakes the past year, 
is believed to exceed 450 millions of dollars, and to exceed 
the whole foreign commerce of all the Atlantic ports, and 
if this commerce should be interrupted whilst the Mississippi 
is closed, the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, 
Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota would not be able to reach 
a market for their surplus products, or obtain their accus- 
tomed supplies of manufactured goods from the Eastern 

The railroads now in operation in this State, have an 
aggregate length of about 3500 miles and their construction 
and equipment have, cost more than 135,000,000 dollars. 

They extend to almost every county in the State and the 
four railroads operating here are so connected with the rail- 
roads of this State, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey and 
New England that troops from every part of the state could 
be rapidly concentrated and sent from this or the northern 
frontier, or from the interior southern frontier of the State 
to the capital or to the different states of the Union. The 
Erie canal which at this point receives the water of Lake- 
Erie, and the commerce of the Great Lakes, is frequently 
dependent for its supply of water to Rochester and even to 
Montezuma, from the Niagara river at Buffalo, and within 
this city and at Lockport and Rochester important and ex- 
pensive permanent erections vitally essential to the naviga- 
tion oi the canal, might by a hostile force, in a few hours, 
be destroyed, or so injured as to wholly interrupt the navi- 
gation of the canal for months, and subject the people of 
this State and of the Western States to the loss of many 

For the defense and maintenance of the Lnion, it is 


believed that Buffalo has in the last nine months contributed 
a million and a quarter of dollars to the war loans, more 
than two thousand soldiers to the arm)- and more than one 
thousand sailors to the navy, but for the defense of this 
city and the protection of the vast interests which depend 
upon its safety, no provision has as yet been made. 

With a population of 81,329 in 1S60, as shown by the 
{]. S. Census of that year (an increase of 62,961 in twenty 
years), and with interests of incalculable national as well as 
local importance depending upon its safety, our city is 
almost entirely without arms. 

We have in the public arsenal less than 200 muskets fit 
for service, and only ten pieces of field artillery, without a 
competent supply of harness and equipments. In the ar- 
senal there are but ic\v other articles of any value for active 
service, while there are in private hands, no artillery and 
only a few small-arms, most of them of different make, 
fashion and caliber, and unfitted for service in the field. 

Fort Porter, the only defensive w r ork in the city, or its 
neighborhood, is not completed or garrisoned, and the guns 
with which it was formerly partially armed, have within the 
past few months been taken from it to meet a pressing de- 
mand for heavy ordnance in the Department of the West. 
Even in its best estate it is supposed it could furnish quarters 
for not more than 300 men, and with a full armament and 
ample garrison it could be of little use except as one of a 
series of defensive works, and in connection with a strong 
infantry force in its neighborhood. 

For the arming of Fort Porter and other batteries and 
works here, we need a considerable supply of coast guns and 
other heavy ordnance, and there should be a supply of 
ship's guns at Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Detroit and Oswego, 
in order that the best and strongest vessels of our mercantile 
marine might in an emergency be speedily converted into 
most formidable and efficient vessels of war. With a full 
supply of ship's guns and a few r naval officers, the command 
of the Lakes could readily be secured — an object the im- 
portance of which can hardly be overrated. 



For the erection of defensive works, the supply of heavy 
ordnance, including ship's guns, and for the authority lo 

raise, arm, uniform and equip a regiment of foot artillery, 
we respectfully ask the favorable action of the General 
Government. For the supply of small arms and a small in- 
fantry force, for the better organization, drill and discipline 
of our militia force, we hope to obtain the favorable action 
of the State Government. 

We are aware that we have imperfectly presented the 
importance and character of the measures which the public 
interest requires should be taken for the defense of this 
frontier, but we know that the military authorities can best 
determine what is most needed and best suited to accomplish 
the objects so desirable to be obtained, and we therefore re- 
spectfully ask that upon consideration of what we have sug- 
gested the War Department may take such measures as will 
ensure the proper defense and security of this City and of 
the great material interests to which we have referred, and 
that Fort Porter may, in view of the probable departure of 
the volunteers now encamped in its vicinity, be speedily gar- 
risoned by one of the companies of regular artillery, which 
in consequence of its men being under parole, cannot now 
be ordered into service in the field. 

We have the honor to be with great respect 
Your Obedient Servants, 

Millard Fillmore, 
[and others.} 

buffalo's memorial to congress. 

[Buffalo, Jan. 10, 1862.] 

To the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress 

The undersigned, a committee of the citizens of Buffalo 
in the State of New York, respectfully represent that there 
exists the most urgent reasons for the adoption of immediate 


measures to protect the city and port of Buffalo, and the 
frontier in the vicinity, from hostile attacks from the neigh- 
boring Canadian shore. 

For many years past we have lived upon terms of entire 
amity and active commercial intercourse, with scarcely a 
thought that our relations to the opposite shore could ever 
become hostile. 

A great city has grown up within gun-shot of a territory 
owing allegiance to a foreign power, and nothing woi thy of 
the name exists to protect its citizens from slaughter and its 
property from spoliation. A small unfinished fort, without 
guns and incapable of sheltering any considerable force, con- 
stitutes the only exhibition of military defense to the gate- 
way between the eastern and western portions of the United 
States. Recent events in our national history are calculated 
to disturb the repose in which we have so long indulged. 

Before the unhappy rebellion which now exists in the 
Southern States had assumed its present proportions, the 
British Gov't began to send troops and arms to Canada, 
and has not ceased to do so at the present time. 

There is now a large force in the British Northwestern 
Provinces, and it is not even pretended that it is there to 
suppress rebellion or to repel invasion, or that the peace or 
security of any of the Provinces are menaced from any 
quarter. We are admonished, however, by the recent affair 
of the Trent that complications may arise at any moment in 
which these warlike preparations upon our border may have 
an alarming significance. Our defenseless state seems to 
invite aggression, and it is our duty at once to seek the 
means of avoiding attack as well as to make good our posi- 
tion, should one unhappily be made. A glance will show 
the importance of this point in the event of hostile relations 
with Great Britain. It is the key of the Lakes, and indis- 
pensably essential to the maintenance of the vast commerce 
which is borne upon them. 

In hostile hands the immense flow of bread-tuffs from the 
West to the East would be reduced to the capacity of one 
circuitous line of railroads, and the revenues and business of 


the New York canals and railroads would dwindle into insig- 
nificance. The greatest portion of seven of the Wesl 
States would be deprived of a market for their surplus pro- 
ductions and the large trade now existing- between them and 
the Eastern States would be nearly or quite destroyed. A 
reference to the Custom House books shows that for the 
past year there have been 6,966 vessels, American and 
foreign, entered at this port, and during the same period 
6,900 vessels have cleared; that the tonnage of vessek en- 
tering is 2,987,691 and that of the vessels cleared 2,976,275, 
which exhibits an extent of commercial transactions that 
few of our Atlantic cities can surpass. The flour and grain 
received at this port during the year just closed is equivalent 
to 58,000,000 bushels and upwards. In view, therefore, of 

the magnitude of the business centering at this point, its de- 
fenseless condition, the indispensable importance of holding 
it for the security of the commerce of the Lakes and the 
communication between the Eastern and Western States, 
and the delicacy of our relations with the British Govern- 
ment, we earnestly ask the National Legislature to adopt 
without delay such measures of military and naval defense 
for this city and its vicinity as an enlightened forecast and 
true economy shall dictate. The nature and extent of such 
defenses we forbear to indicate as we deem it necessary to 
enlist the attention of Congress to the importance of the 
subject, so far as to secure such an appropriation as will 
enable the executive to adopt such measures as the exigency 
of the case imperatively demands. 

Millard Fillmore, 

[and others.] 


To the Honorable the Legislature of the State of New 
York : 
We the undersigned Committee of the Citizens of Buffalo 
most respectfully represent to your Honorable Body that 


recent events which have occurred between the United States 
and Crept Britain have called their attention to the entirely 
unprotected condition of our city and its vicinity for defense 
in any act of collision which might occur between the Can- 
ada* and the frontier of this State and particularly along 
the border of Lake Erie and the upper portion of the 
Niagara river. 

The city of Buffalo contains about 85,000 inhabitants. 
Its territory lies for four miles along' the shore of Lake Erie 
and six miles on the shore of the Erie Canal, and on the 
river front varying from half a mile to two miles distant 
from the opposite Canadian shore. In the harbor of Buffalo 
terminates the Erie Canal with its several connections of 
piers, basins, slips & docks, ail constructed and owned by 
the State of New York, and here meeting the extensive com- 
merce of the Upper Lakes. 

Erom the harbor of Buffalo and immediately along the 
river shore flows the Erie Canal for six miles within the city 
limits, and for six miles further down to Tonawanrla where 
it strikes inland towards Lockport. 

Along this entire front the river is navigable for the 
largest ves>els that float the Upper Lakes and for six miles 
within full range of artillery placed on the Canadian shore. 
The canal along the river is elevated four feet above the 
river level and is fed from Lake Erie to Montezuma, one 
half its length, the lake being the only supply on which it 
can at all times rely for its navigation. With the use of the 
canal and its appurtenances is connected the commercial 
prosperity of not only the city of Buffalo, but of every vil- 
lage, town and city on its line to Troy and Albany, and 
thence along the Hudson river to its grand emporium, the 
City of New York. 

The value of this portion of the Erie Canal, with its 
extensive collateral works of harbor, basins, piers and docks, 
in connection with the waters of Lake Erie, and indispens- 
able to the accommodation of its commerce, cannot be esti- 


If possessed by an enemy the immense property which 
now floats upon the canal — the water craft used for its I 
portation and the employment of many thousands of men — 

would either cease to exist or become, of little value. The 
commerce of the canal embraces more or less the products 
and supplies of many western, states, even those lying- beyond 
the Mississippi river. It also extends eastward to states 
bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north and south of the boun- 
daries of our own state, but of which at either extremity it 
holds the key and the western extremity at Buffalo not less, 
indeed more important to its revenues than the eastern. The 
worth of the Eric Canal as a paying investment to the State 
and the people cannot now be estimated, so far as its rev- 
enues will show, at. less than fifty millions of dollars. Its 
prospective value in the usual condition of our country at 
peace within and without is scarcely within the bounds of 
computation, as a source of revenue to the State treasury 
and the welfare of the people who own and control its opera-, 
tions connected as it is with the rapidly growing wants and 
commerce of the untold millions of the rising States beyond 
us at the West. 

The city of Buffalo has a real and personal property of 
an assessed value of 30.252,275 dollars, every dollar 01 it 
intimately connected with, and for the most part dependent 
upon, the canal and lake commerce and shipping. Buffalo 
is indispensable to the prosperity and revenues of the canal, 
and this canal is almost if not the only considerably pro- 
ductive property held by the State and on which it largely 
relies to maintain its supremacy as the chief commercial 
State of the Union. 

Of the nearly 4.000,000 of dollars in tolls which our 
canals have paid during the past year into the State treasury, 
about eighteen hundred thousand dollars were paid in the 
city of Buffalo, not to mention the enormous tonnage trans- 
ported east from Buffalo by the railroads which paid no toll 
to the State. In addition to the canal may be enumerated 
the chief western termini of the Central and the Erie rail- 


roads, private corporations though they arc, yet of great 
importance as assisting in the transit of our commerce with 
the western States ana contributing indefinitely to our pros- 
perity. These roads like the canal and its appurtenances are 
defenseless and unprotected against the attack of a powerful 
foreign enemy. Twenty years ago the General Government 
made an appropriation and erected a small fortification on 
the bluff overlooking the debouchure of Lake Erie into the 
Niagara river, incomplete in its original design, which con- 
templated expensive water batteries between it and Buffalo 
lighthouse. As a work of substantial defense to the vast 
interests we have enumerated, this fort is of little practical 
value. It holds not a gun of any description nor a pound of 
ammunition and is as defenseless against a hostile raid upon 
it as the dwellings which stand along the borders of the 
river. It is evident, therefore, that the valuable property 
belonging to the State, to the railroad corporations and to 
the inhabitants of our city as well as to the General Govern- 
ment, so far as any public defenses are concerned, are at the 
mercy of a foreign foe who might in a sudden and a power- 
ful attack utterly destroy or render them useless ; and the 
canal particularly, by riddling its outside pier and banks, 
might be thoroughly cut off from its supply of water for 
half its length. Such a contingency should no longer be 
permitted to exist. The grounds along the river along on 
the New York side are high and commanding, capable with 
a moderate expense in the erection of military works of 
thoroughly protecting all these valuable interests. 

The Canada shore is scarcely so commanding as our own 
but susceptible of sustaining erections which under the im- 
proved artillery of modern warfare would destroy our prop- 
erty in the absence of sufficiently strong defenses on our side. 
We do not propose to argue with youi honorable body, a 
subject so self-evident as the policy of protecting the prop- 
erty of the "people of the State of New York," but we do 
say with all due respect and submission that if our canals 
and their commerce be worth even but a small part of the 


lineriurnerated millions set forth, they arc worth the com- 
paratively small additional sum now demanded. 

We forbear to go into a detail as to the mode of protect- 
ive defense suggested, but pray that in your wisdom a sys- 
tem commensurate with its importance will be devised, and 
although the recently impending hostile issue with a power- 
ful foreign nation may, as, we trust, be happily averted, we 
cannot wisely delay the application of the statesmanlike 
maxim, "in time of peace prepare for war." All of which 
is respectfully submitted. 

Millard Fillmore, 
[and others.] 
Buffalo, Tan. 10, 1862. 

Buffalo, Jany 21, 1862. 

John Wilkeson, Esq. 

Secy, etc., 
Sir: Please to notify a meeting of the defence committee 
to be held at the Mayor's office, on Wednesday evening 
(Jany 22d), at 7 P. M., to consider the subject of a Naval 
Depot at this place. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore, 

Chairman, etc. 


Buffalo, Feby 6, 1862. 
Hon. Ira Harris, 

My dear Sir: By the directions of the "Committee of 
Defense of Buffalo" I transmitted to you some time since, a 
memorial to the War Department in reference to the defense 
of Buffalo, but having heard nothing from it, either from 
you or the Secretary of War, I fear my letter may have 


] have endeavoured to account for the delay in my own 
mind from the fact that business must have been somewhat 
interrupted by the resignation of Mr. Cameron and the ap- 
pointment of Mr. Stanton. 

Pardon me for again calling your attention to the subject. 
Truly and Respectfully 

Your obt st 

Millard Fillmore, 

Chairman &c. 


To the Select Committee appointed by the House of Rep- 
resentatives on the Defense and Forlif.calions of the 
Great Lakes and Fvii-ers. 

The memorial of the undersigned a committee appointed 
by the citizens of Buffalo on the defenses of said city 

Respectfully shews that your memorialists are informed 
that you have under consideration a plan for establishing a 
naval depot on the Northern Lakes which your memorialists 
deem of very great importance, believing that Buffalo pos- 
sesses many advantages over any other city on the Lakes, 
such for instance as its wealth and population, which will 
naturally be defended by the strongest defensive works, its 
convenient location for supplying directly, or by rail, all 
vessels on the Upper or Low r er Lakes with despatch, its ex- 
tensive foundries, at which cannon might readily be cast, its 
great convenience for building and repairing ships, its ex- 
cellent harbor which readily admits the largest vessels that 
float upon the lakes; but as they cannot conceive that Con- 
gress will assume to fix the locality of such an establishment 
without an actual examination and report of competent offi- 
cers, your memorialists simply beg leave to call your atten- 
tion to the subject and respectfully to ask that any legisla- 
tion on the subject may be such as to leave the site to a com- 
petent naval and military authority, and if such authority 
after a personal examination shall deem any other point on 


Buffalo, Feb. 15, 1862. 
Hon. E. G. Spaulding, 

My dear Sir: Your favor of the nth inst. in reference 
to a Naval Depot on the Lakes came to hand last evening" 
and it seems to me most extraordinary that Congress should 
assume to fix the location of such an establishment for a 
thousand miles of lake shore without an official reconnois- 
ance and report. I send you a brief memorial from our 
Defense Committee, which is all we can do. 

I am in haste, Truly Yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Elbridge G. Spaulding represented the old 326. N. Y. District, which in 
186- was made the 30th District (Erie County) in the Thirty-first, Thirty-sixth 
and Thirty-seventh Congresses, retiring March 3, 1863. In 1873 Erie County 
was again made the 33d District. 



the Lakes preferable to this, we shall most cheerfuliv 
acquiesce in the result, as we are chiefly anxious for the 
defense of the frontier. 

We are your obt servants 

Millard Fillmore, 

[and others.] 
Buffalo, Feby 15, 1862. 

Buffalo, Feby 15, 1862. 
John Wilkeson, Esq. 

My dear Sir: Please have the enclosed letter signed by 

as many of the Committee as you can find & copy it with my 

letter to Mr. Spaulding into the book, and forward it to him. 

Please to show Mr. Spaulding's letter to the Mayor and 

then put it op. file. In haste, 

Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 



The following petition to Congress for enlarging the 
locks of the New York canals, that they might pass mail- 
clad vessels, was headed by ex-President Fillmore, signed 
by leading citizens of Buffalo of all parties, and presented 
on May 24, 1862, by the Hon. E. G. Spaulding, in the House 
of Representatives; it was duly referred to the Military 
Committee. It states briefly but clearly the merits of the 
proposition, which was subsequently discussed by the House 
in connection with the kindred bill already reported by that 
committee for enlarging the Illinois Canal to admit the 
passage of similar vessels into the lakes from the Miss- 
issippi : 

The undersigned citizens of Buffalo earnestly solicit Con- 
gress, in addition to provision made and contemplated for 
the defence of the Northern Frontier, to adopt, without 
delay, the measures necessary to secure the enlargement of 
the locks of the Erie and Oswego Canals, to a size sufficient 
to pass vessels adequate to the defence of the Northern and 
Northwestern Lakes, pursuant to the provisions of an Act 
of the Legislature of New York, passed April 24, 1862. 
This work accomplished, vessels more powerful than the 
Monitor could pass from New York to Lakes Erie and 
Ontario, or from the Lakes to New York, or from either 
Lake to the other during the season of navigation. 

The immense National interests involved in the military 


possession of these waters can be secured in no other mode 
at so small a cost of time and money. We deem it not ex- 
travagant to assert that, if the proposed work were accom- 
plished, no attempt would be made to wrest the control of 
the Great Lakes from our National Government. The 
equality of access to them, which was designed to be secured 
by our treaty with Great Britain, has been wholly destroyed 
by the construction of the Canadian Canals; and we are not 
permitted to build and maintain War Vessels upon the 


Lakes. The superiority of our commercial interests over 
those of our neighbors, but increases the danger of sudden 

attack, and is no defence whatever. We have no impedi- 
ment to offer if, during the season of navigation, a fleet of 
British gunboats from the Atlantic shall propose to take 
possession of the entire chain of Lakes and connecting 

A long line of flourishing cities and villages can thus be 
laid under contribution or be destroyed, while the commerce, 
exceeding in value the foreign trade of the nation, is either 
suspended or falls a prey to our ambitious rival. Is it the 
part of wisdom to incur such risks? No other nation ever 
manifested such indifference to its vital interests or over- 
weening confidence in the preservation of pacific relations 
with the only power with which it was liable to serious dif- 
ferences. Recent events have shown how readily, and with- 
out notice, war clouds may obscure the horizon. Should we 
not profit by the lesson and be prepared for dangers that 
are always impending, while so considerable a portion of 
the continent owns European sway. 

The National Government has expended large sums for 
the defence of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The interests 
of the North and West are equally entitled to such protec- 
tion, and it is respectfully submitted, that by the adoption 
of the project in question, our inland frontier is amply de- 
fended, and a commerce of inestimable value to our Atlantic 
States and cities secured from hostile interruption. 

Millard Fillmoke 
Henry W. Rogers 
George R. Babcock, 
Guv H. Goodrich 

and many others. 




1861 TO 1874 




1861 TO 1874 


Buffalo, April 29, 1861. 

To the Officers and Members of Co. "G," 74.TH Regi- 
ment N. Y. S. M. 

Gentlemen : I have your note of the 27th, informing me 
that at a meeting of Company "G" of the 74th Regiment, it 
was unanimously resolved that the company be styled "The 
Fillmore Guards," and requesting my permission to assume 
that name. 

Having satisfied myself on enquiry that the company is 
composed of such men as will do honor to themselves, and 
consequently honor the name they have assumed, I not only 
yield my consent most cheerfully, but return my thanks for 
this unexpected mark of respect from the citizen soldiers 
of Buffalo. 

I am respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 


Buffalo, Thursday morning, Dec. 26, 1861. 

William Dorsheimer, Esq. 

Sir: I received your note last evening, expressing a de- 
sire on behalf of some gentlemen of the Bar, that I should 

419 - ' 


Buffalo, June 18, 1862. 

Sirs: Mr. O'Reilly published a history of Western New 
York some years since. I do not recollect its exact title but 
if you will send me a copy with the price, I will remit the 
amount. It will come free by mail. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

[Messrs. E. Darrow & Buo., Rochester.] 

The book to which Mr. Fillmore referred was. Henry O'Reilly's -Sketches 
of Rochester," published in 1838. Not having a copy on hand at that time, 
Mr. Darrow sent as a present Turner's "Phelps and Gorham Purchase" and 
some Rochester pamphlets, and received the following acknowledgment: 


attend their meeting to-day and make sonic remarks on the 
sad event of Mr. Haven's death. 

Though I have many years since ceased to he a member 
of the Bar, yet I shall ever feel a professional sympathy with 
them which would certainly induce me to comply with their 
request, did I feel that I could speak in public on this mourn- 
ful occasion. But to me Mr. Haven was more like a near 
and clear relation than a mere professional brother. Our 
social, professional and political relations, as you are well 
aware, have been of the most intimate character for more 
than a quarter of a century; and during" that time there has 
never been an unkind word or hard thought on either side. 
His sudden death sends a pang through my heart that un- 
mans me. I feel in his loss a sorrow and bereavement too 
deep for utterance in public, and I must beg of you to make 
my excuse to the meeting, and believe me in sorrow and 

Truly Yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 



Buffalo, June 21, 1862. 
Messrs. E. Darrow & Brother, Rochester: 

Gentlemen : I have your favor of the 19th and Turner's 
"History of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase" and the inter- 
esting pamphlets which you were so kind as to send me, for 
which I beg you to accept my sincere thanks. 

We have just established a historical society in Buffalo 
and everything relating to the early history of Western 
New York, is very acceptable at this time, and I sincerely 
hope that you will be able to procure for me Mr. O'Reilly's 
history. With renewed thanks, 

I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

averse to newspaper notoriety. 

Buffalo, July 1, 1S62. 

Dear Sir: I. have, your letter asking permission to read 
mine to the "Young Men's Democratic Union Club" to the 
Club. If it be possible to do this without having it appear 
in the papers, I have no objection. It is not that I desire to 
conceal my sentiments, but I have a strong aversion to ap- 
pearing in the public papers. 

I am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Horatio F. Averill, 

New York. 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Thos. R. Proctor, Utica, N. Y. 

correspondence on the origin of the name of 
buffalo creek. 

[?July] 1862. 
Messrs. A. M. Clapp & Co., 

Gentlemen : As you propose to publish my address to 
the Buffalo Historical Society, I enclose a correspondence 


which has taken place since I prepared that address, and 
which may be interesting to those who desire to know the 
origin of the name of "Buffalo Creek." 

The letters of Doctor O'Callaghan arc most valuable his- 
torical documents, and should be preserved by the Society. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

to dr. e. b. o'callaghan. 

Buffalo, June 23, 1862. 

My dear Sir: Mr. O. H. Marshall, at my request, ad- 
dressed a letter to yon a few days since, inquiring as to the 
origin of the name "Buffalo Creek," as applied to the stream 
running through this city, and as to the date of Demler's 
Map, published in the second volume of Doc. History of 
New York, at page 458; and he has shown me your very 
interesting letter of the 19th inst. in reply. I perceive in 
that, that you come to the conclusion that "the Map must 
have been drawn before 1773," and you say that Demler is 
styled "Captain' on the Map. If this be so in the original, 
it is not so in the copy as published. — On that he has no 
title but simply "Geo. Demler, 60th Regt." 

I am very anxious to know certainly whether this Map 
was published before or after 1784, when the treaty of Fort 
Stanwix was made, and where the name of "Buffalo Creek" 
was applied to this stream; and, therefore, without presum- 
ing to question the correctness of your conclusion, I wish to 
call your attention to the tact that the Map also states "Lati- 
tudes from Mr. Elliott — Niagara, 43 degrees, 15 minutes; 
Falls, 43 degrees, 4 minutes, 25 seconds; height, 150 feet," 

Now the first quere is, should not this have been Ellicott 
instead of Elliott, for I find in Appleton's "New American 
Cyclopedia," vol. VII., p. 104, a brief biography of Andrew 
Ellicott, in which it is stated, that "in 1789 he was appointed 
by President Washington to survey the land lying between 
Pennsylvania and Lake Erie ; and during that year he made 


the first accurate measurement of the Niagara river, from 
lake to lake, with the height of the Falls and the fall of the 

If Dernier refers to this measurement, which is said to 
have been the first accurate one ever made then, is it nor 
conclusive evidence that his Map was made, after 1789? 

Pardon me for troubling you again on this point. 
Most respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Dr. E. B. O'Callaghan, Albany. 

Buffalo, June 30, 1862. 

My dear Sir: I am very greatly obliged for your very 
interesting and instructive letter of Tune 25, and Demler's 
and Ellicott's maps, which you were so kind to send me, and 
which I herewith return, with many thanks for the favor. 

I think it most probable that your conjecture is right, 
that Demler's map was drawn with reference to the solicited 
grant to Rutherford, Duncan and others, as it bears marks 
of having been annexed to some other papers by wafers. 
But conceding that the map was drawn as early as 1761-2, 
the question still recurs, was the name "Buffaloe Creek" 
inscribed upon it at that time? It must be admitted that 
the statement of Ellicott's measurement of the Falls has been 
added to since 1789, and if the name "Buffalo Creek" was 
inscribed upon it in 1761-2, it is probably the oldest record 
of any kind on which it can be found. The word Creek as 
applied to a small river, is peculiarly an Americanism, and I 
suppose Demler was an Englishman, and if he named it, he 
would have called it Bv.iialo River. But it may be said that 
he inscribed the name which Americans applied to it; but 
at that time no Americans were here, or had been here, to 
give it a name. 

But it is also to be noticed that we find on this map, the 
Tonawanda Creek laid down, but not named ; but the name 
of "Buffaloe Creek" is in beautiful manuscript, while all the 
other names are in printed characters. Another thing seems 


probable, that either this name was copied from the Treat\ 
of .1784, or else the name in that treaty was copied from the 
map; for they are both spelled alike, and both misspelled. 
They are both spelled Buffaloe, and Buffalo, a mistake and 
coincidence not likely to occur when two men were, writing 
independently of each other. I do not find that any Lexi- 
cographer ever spelled the word with a final c. I have a 
copy of Bailey's Dictionary, published in 1776, in which he 
says: "BUFFALO, a certain wild beast like an ox, common 
in America or Asia." Johnson gives the same orthography. 
Now if we are warranted in concluding that either the name 
in the treaty was copied from the map, or that on the map 
from the treaty, it is most probable that that on the map was 
never published, and there is no reason to suppose that it 
was ever seen by those who made the treaty, but the treaty 
was published, and therefore accessible to all ; and this 
orthography was carried from the treaty into the United 
States laws in 1805, and a collection district established here 
by the name of Buffaloe Creek. 

Prior to the treaty of 1784, which marked Buffaloe Creek 
as a boundary, it was of no more importance than Tona- 
wanda (which was an Indian name meaning still water, or 
meeting of the waters) ; and if the name of Buffaloe Creek 
was inscribed by the maker of the map, and before the 
treaty of 1784, there is no reason why he should have 
omitted the name of Tonawanda, for the Tonawanda Creek 
was more likely to attract attention, being on the usually 
travelled route up the river, than the Buffalo Creek, which 
was away from it. 

I think you will also perceive, by a magnifying glass, that 
the ink in "Buffaloe Creek'' is much paler than that in 
"Meadow I" and "Beaver I" and, as before remarked, the 
chirography is entirely different. Indeed, judging from the 
chirography alone, I should say that "Duncan's House," 
"Rifts," "Buffaloe Creek," and "By Geo. Dernier, 60th 
Regt." were all written by different persons from the one 
who made the map, and wrote or printed upon it the names 
of places. 


But J do not profess to be much of a critic on handwrit- 
ing, and may be mistaken. 

The water-mark, could we fix its date, WQLild only show 
when the paper was made, but not when the map was, much 
less when additions were made. 

The difference of style between this map and that by 
Joseph Ellicott which you sent, may be the difference of 
skill of the drawers as I am sure I could not draw as good 
a map as that of Demler. 

Finally, before your first letter was written to Mr v Mar- 
shall, I had prepared an address for the Historical Society, 
in which I had ventured to offer a conjecture as to the origin 
of the name Buffalo Creek, and I shall deliver it as prepared, 
and if printed, will send you a copy. In conclusion permit 
me to add, that I have no pride of opinion on the subject, 
and am only anxious to find the true origin of the name, and 
shall be most happy to receive any further light which you 
may be able to throw on that point. 

I am. with great respect, 

Your obliged friend, 

Millard Fillmore. 
E. B. O'Callagiian, M. D., Albany. 

P. S. Pardon me for adding, for the truth of history 
that Andrew Ellicott was the elder brother of Joseph and 

On the subject of the above and the preceding letter, sec ante, pp. 71-77. 
Dr. O'Cailaghan's replies to Mr. Fillmore were printed in the Buffalo Express, 
July 3, 1S62. The Buffalo Historical Society preserves among its manuscripts 
several long letters written to Mr. Fillmore by Nathan Kite of Philadelphia, 
and O. H. Marshall of Buffalo, on the same general subject — the origin of the 
name of Buffalo, and other data on early maps of the region. 


Buffalo, July 8, 1862. 
Messrs. Cheeseman & Dodge: 

Gentlemen : Dr. Scott has just handed me your letter 
of the 7th, including your check for $100 for "the support 
of the Constitution and the laws." 


I have generally declined all fiduciary trusts, and should 
do so now, but the noble patriotism which prompted your 
generous donation compels me to accept it, and to assure you 
that I will endeavor to apply it to the objects indicated in 
your letter. 

Ivespect fully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

In July, 1S62, the Buffalo Common Council having voted against giving aid 
to the organization of a new regiment, Messrs. Cheeseman & Dodge, livery- 
Stable proprietors of Buffalo, sent a long letter to Mr. Fillmore, enclosing $100, 
v/hich they asked him to use toward the equipment of a new regiment, if prac- 
ticable, or if not, to devote it to hospital work. 

daniel webster s last letter. 

Buffalo, Nov. 17, 1862. 
Guy H. Salisbury, Esq., 

My dear Sir: Enclosed you will find die last letter writ- 
ten by Mr. Webster before his death, which fact is verified 
by the letter of his private secretary Mr. Abbott [Abbot], 
which I also enclose. They are donations to the Buffalo 
Historical Society, to be preserved among its autographs. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Mr. Salisbury was secretary of the Buffalo Flistorical Society. The en- 
closures referred to, being of exceptional interest, here follow. In this connec- 
tion it may be noted that a fine copy of Ames' celebrated painting. "The Death 
of Webster," engraved by C. Mottram, which was in Mr. Fillmore's possession 
for many years, is now owned by the Buffalo Historical Society, the gift of the 
late Joseph P. Dudley. 


Marsh vi eld, Oct. 21, 1852. 

Thurs Eve, Oct. 21, 1852. 
To the President: 

Sir: You will be deeply pained to learn that within the last few hours, 
the disease under which the Secretary of State is laboring has taken an un- 
favorable turn, and that no hopes are entertained for his recovery. 

The last letter, written with his own hand, was addressed by him to ycu 
on Monday. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 

Most respectfully your obedient servant 

G. J. Abbot. 









From an Origii 

Daguerreotype in the Fossession of the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 


Monday momg. 18 Oct. [i Pr -?] 
Mv Deas Sir: By the blessing of Providence, I have bad another, com- 
paratively, good night; the afternoon attack coming later, & not lasting so 
long; & then an excellent sleep. At this hour, do o'clock; I f c 1 easy, & 
itrong, & as if I could go into the Senate, & make a speech! At one, I shall 
put ail away — be obliged to gu to bed, at three, & go thro the Evening S] 
What all this is to come to, God only knows. My Dear Sir, I should love to 
;>ass this last month of your Administration, with you. around your Council 
Hoard. But let not this embarrass you. Consider my Resignation as always 
before you, to be accepted, any moment you please. I hope God, in his mercy, 
may preserve me; but his will be done! I have cvry thing right about mr, & 
the weather. is glorious. 

I do not read the newspapers; but my wife sometimes reads to me the 
contents of some of them. 

I fear things do not look very well for our side. 

Yrs truly always, 

Danl Webster 
To The President. 

relative to the foregoing. 

Buffalo, Nov. 18, 1862. 
Mr. Alfred**]?. Goodman, 

Sir : In reply to your request for a copy of Mr. Webster's 
last letter, I would state that it is no longer in my possession. 
but in the custody of Guy H. Salisbury, Esq. as Secretaiy of 
the Buffalo Historical Society. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Webster collection, Library of Congress. 


Mr. Fillmore having received an invitation from the city 
council of Nashville, Term., to join in the coming celebration 
of Washington's birthday, in that city, sent the. following 
reply : 

Buffalo, Feb. 9, 1S63. 

Sir: I regret exceedingly that it is out of my power to 
accept your invitation on behalf of the City Council of Nash- 
ville to join with them and its citizens in celebrating the 
131st anniversary of Washington's birthday. 

I write nothing for publication, but I cannot forbear to 
say that no man has a higher reverence for the character of 


Washington than I possess; and had his paternal and 
patriotic advice been followed, North and South, the country 
would not now be bleeding at every pore from an unnatural 

and most calamitous civil war, where brother is arrayed 
against brother and father against son. 

I recollect with infinite pleasure the delightful visit I had 
in your beautiful city in 1854, but I fear that is all now 
changed and I can never hope to visit your city again under 
such favorable auspices; but still I cherish the recollection 
of that visit, and shall to my dying day. 

Be so kind as to make my profound acknowledgments to 
the City Council for remembering me on this interesting oc- 
casion, and assure them that they have my earnest prayers 
for returning pro-perity by the restoration of our once glori- 
ous Union in harmony and peace. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Abram Myer, Esq., Chairman, etc. 


The Buffalo Historical Society hereby leases to Doctor 
Lewis Dodge the front room in the office now occupied by 
said Society on Court Street, Buffalo, reserving the right to 
occupy the same whenever desired for meetings of said 
Society or of the Executive Board, and also as a passage 
way to and from the rooms of said Society, for which the 
said Dodge agrees to pay to said Society monthly in advance, 
seven dollars for each of the fall and winter months, and six 
dollars for each of the spring and summer months, which is 
to be deemed a compensation for the gas used in said room. 
This lease to terminate when either party shall give 10 days 
notice to do so, or the lease to said Society shall expire, or 
said Dodge shall fail to make said payments promptly as 
required by this lease. 

Millard Fillmore, Prest. 

Sept. 1, 1S63. 

Original MS. owned by the Buffalo Historical Society. 


Buffalo, July 27, 1864. 
Col. N. G. Thayer, 

Dear Sir: The undersigned have learned with pleasure 
that you have accepted invitations to address the citizens of 
some of the cities along the line of the Central Railroad in 
this State, on the subject of the condition of your neighbors 
in East Tennessee, whose loyalty and devotion to Union and 
Constitutional liberty have commanded our highest admira- 
tion and respect, and whose sacrifices and sufferings have 
excited our warmest sympathies. 

We would, therefore, be pleased to have you visit and 
address the citizens of Buffalo at such time as will suit your 

We remain, yours truly and respectfully, 

Millard Fillmore 
and others. 


Buffalo, August 9, 1864. 

To His Excellency Horatio Seymour, 

Governor of Neiv York. 

Sir: As citizens of Buffalo we deem it a duty, which we 
owe alike to our city and country at large, to make an 
earnest appeal to your Excellency, and through you to the 
General Government, for military protection against an 
apprehended raid of rebels from Canada to burn our city 
and plunder its inhabitants. We have learned through the 
Provost Marshall's [sic] office here, that a detective has 
been employed by that officer in Canada for some seven 
weeks past watching the movements of the rebels there, and 
that recently they seem to be congregating on the Niagara 
frontier, apparently with some design of making a strike — 


and Buffalo so rich in its stores of grain and merchandi e, 

and so utterly defenceless, offers many temptations to a 
marauding force, composed of rebels from the Southern 
States and deserters, from our own army, many of whom, 
we are informed, are utterly depraved, in most destitute 
circumstances and ready for an expedition that promis< 5 
devastation and plunder with a hope of escape. 

After consultation by a few of our most prominent citi- 
zens, we have concluded that it was best to address your 
Excellency privately, by letter, lest a more public manifesta- 
tion of our defenceless condition might invite an attack 
before we were prepared to meet it. We beg- leave to call 
your attention particularly to our situation. 

Our location is peculiar. We occupy the narrow strait 
through which most of the commerce between the East and 
West must pass, and it needs only to look at the twenty-seven 
elevators filled with grain, and which are indispensable to 
transfer for the thirty or forty millions of bushels that must 
arrive here before the close of navigation, to see that, if 
these be destroyed, it will be a national calamity, the effects 
of which will be felt to the remotest parts of the United 
States, and they are necessarily of that combustible material 
easily ignited, and once on fire thev are so high that there 
can be little hope of extinguishing the flames. 

It is impossible to guard this frontier by anything short 
of a military force, acting under military discipline, and 
while we would not presume to dictate what should be done, 
we would respectfully suggest that means be immediately 
taken by the military authorities to ascertain more definitely, 
by competent and skillful detectives, the plans and intentions 
of these rebels; and that the Canadian authorities — whom 
we believe to be friendly- — be invited to co-operate in pre- 
venting a raid from Canada on the United States, and above 
all, that a military force, adequate to our protection, be 
placed on this frontier. If troops cannot be spared from 
other places, we hope and trust that those raised here, com- 
prising the 65th and 74th regiments, may be suffered to re- 
main until their places can be supplied by others. 


} loping" that this communication will receive prompt at- 
tention, we remain your Excellency's 

Most obedient servants, 

Wm. G. Fargo, Mayor 
Millard Fillmore 

and others. 


The following- letters from Millard Fillmore were read at 
the Keystone Club Headquarters, Walnut St., Philadelphia, 
in the fall of 1864: 

Buffalo, August 12, 1864. 
John Bell Robinson, Esq., 

Dear Sir : I have yours asking permission to publish my 
letter, but I have such an aversion to appearing in the papers 
that I cannot consent; but if you think it can do any good 
to the McClellan cause to show it to your friends or read it 
at your meetings, you are at liberty to do so. 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

The letter referred to above is the following: 

Buffalo, August 12, 1864. 
John Bell Robinson, Esq., 

Dear Sir: Your kind favor of the 30th ult., came to hand 
on the 6th inst., and now I have just received yours of the 
8th, and while I fully and gratefully appreciate your kind 
intentions, I hesitate about responding to your inquiries, 
chiefly because I am unwilling to write anything for publi- 

While I take the deepest interest in the fate of my coun- 
try, and look with painful apprehension to the. future, yet I 
have retired from public life, and can hardly appear again 
before the public even by letter, without having my motives 


impugned and misrepresented; and therefore I have inva- 
riably refused to attend any public meeting, or write any- 
thing for publication. 

I sincerely feel that the country is on the verge of ruin, 
and unless the policy which governs our national affairs can 
be changed, we must soon end in national bankruptcy and 
a military despotism. Perhaps the former cannot now he 
averted, but the latter may; but in my opinion the policy 
can only be changed by a change of Administration. 

Everything seems to have been done to unite and exas- 
perate the South and intensify its hatred to the North, so as 
to render a union impossible ; but still I am not without hope 
that a change, of Administration may change the feelings of 
the South towards us; and eventually bring about a restored 
Union, and an honorable peace ; but I have no faith in that 
policy which proposes to exterminate the South, or hold it 
by military subjugation. To maintain this Union by force 
of arms, merely, would require a standing army that would 
exhaust all the resources of the nation, and necessarily con- 
vert our Government into a military despotism. This is a 
result that no patriot can contemplate without horror. But 
I have said more than I intended, and you will please to con- 
sider it private, and believe me, 

Yours &c, Millard Fillmore. 


Buffalo, Aug. 17, 1864. 
To H. Ketch um, 

My dear Sir: Your favor of the 13th came to hand dur- 
ing my absence, but I was greatly delighted to see by the 
papers that you had so large and enthusiastic a meeting for 
McClellan. I seriously hope that he will receive the nomina- 
tion by the Chicago Convention. I see my name occasion- 
ally alluded to in connection with that Convention, but I 
cannot think there is anything of it, for I believe that ail 


know that I do not desire the nomination, and I cannot think 
g great number desire me to have it. . . 

Millard Fillmore. 

The above letter widely published. 


Buffalo Sept 5. [1864] 

Gentlemen : Please to accept my thanks for the honor 
you have done me by inviting me to be present at a ratifica- 
tion meeting to be held in Union Square on the 8th inst, and 
to address the meeting. 

While I shall with great pleasure cast my vote for 
General McClellan and Air. Pendleton, yet I regard myself 
as wholly withdrawn from party contests, and therefore I 
attend no political meetings, make no speeches and write no 
letters for publication. 

With my best wishes for the success of your ticket — for 
on that, in my opinion, depends the salvation of our country, 

I am, gentlemen, your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore. 

Messrs. F. H. Churchill, Henry W. Allen, Samuel 
Boardman, John P. Nagle, John Bulley, Jr., John H. 
Decker, Committee [New York], 


Buffalo, Sept. 28. [1864] 

F. H. Churchill, Esq., 

Dear Sir: Your favor of the 26th has this moment 
come to hand, in which you request my permission to pub- 
lish my letter to you of the 5th inst. 

That letter, like all letters of mine, was intended to be 
private; not because it contained any sentiment which I 


wished to conceal, but simply because I had a great aversion 
to appearing in the newspapers; but you seen to think it- 
publication might do good to the conservative cause — in 
which I confess I feel a very deep interest— and as I have 
received similar information from other sources I have re- 
luctantly come to the conclusion to permit it to be published. 

The fact is, that I see no reasonable prospect of a restora- 
tion of this Union — the object nearest my heart — without a 
change of the avowed policy of this administration; and 1 
see no prospect of changing the policy but by a change of 
the administration itself. Hence I am for a change, and 1 
look upon the election of Gen. McClellan as the last hope 
for the restoration of the Union, an honorable peace, and the 
security of personal liberty; and this you may publish to the 
world as my views on the pending crisis. But I shall enter 
into no argument in support of my opinion, nor do I intend 
hereafter to depart from that silence which I impose upon 
myself from an unwillingness to mingle, or seem to mingle, 
in party politics; for I do not consider myself as belonging 
to any party, and J feel wholly indifferent to any party suc- 
cess as such, and am only anxious for the honor and welfare 
of my beloved, but bleeding and suffering country. 

I am, in great haste, truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 


The following note was written by Mr. Fillmore to a 
Mr. Douglas, of Brooklyn, in November, 1864: 

Dear Sir: Your kind favor is received, &c. I sincerely 
feel that the country is on the verge of ruin, and unless the 
policy which governs our national ait airs can be changed, 
we must soon end in national bankruptcy and a military des- 
potism. Perhaps the former cannot be arrested, but the 
latter may ; but in my opinion the policy can only be changed 
by a change of administration. Hence I am for a change, 
and I Took upon the election of General McClellan as the 


last hope for the restoration of the Union and honorable 
peace and the security of personal liberty; and this you may 
publish to the world as my views on the pending crisis. I 
shall, with great pleasure, cast my vote for Gen. McClellan 
and Mr. Pendleton. . . . 

Millard Fillmore. 


Buffalo, July 6, 1865. 

Messrs. Bryant, Stratton & Co. : 

Gentlemen : I am honored by the receipt of your invi- 
tation to attend the Second Annual Convention of "The Pro- 
prietors and members of Bryant, Stratton & Co.s Interna- 
tional Commercial Colleges/' to be held at Chicago, on the 
nth of this month, and I regret that I cannot accept it. 

It would, indeed, g'ive me great pleasure to be present on 
so interesting an occasion, and to do anything in my power 
to promote the objects you have in view. That such an in- 
stitution was greatly needed admits of no doubt and while I 
cannot speak from personal knowledge of your success, yet 
I am happy to say that our business men with whom I have 
converse — and who are the best judges — speak highly of it. 

With my best wishes for your prosperity, I am, 
Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 


Buffalo, Sept. 12, 1865. 

Dear Sir: I have your favor of the 7th and I requested 
the Secretary of the Buffalo Historical Society, Dr. W. R. 
Scott, to send you a copy of the Constitution and by-laws. 
We shall be most happy to receive any contributions you 
may be pleased to make. The Society is quite prosperous. 


Ex-Governor Carke's [sic] address is "Myron IT Clarke 
[Clark], New York City." 

In haste, truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
A. T. Goodman, Esq. 

Original MS. owned by the Buffalo Historical Society. 

The above illustrates not only the sort of slip to which any letter-writer is 
liable, but the genius Mr. Fillmore had for misspelling names when apparently 
he was taking special pains with them. 


Buffalo, October 7, 1867. 

Genera! William F. Barry, U. S. Army: 

Dear Sir : Your personal friends in this city have learned 
with unfeigned regret that you have been relieved from 
duty as Commander of the Troops on the Northern Fron- 
tier, and are about to join your Regiment in California. 
Mindful of your eminent services a? Chief of Artillery in 
organizing that Department of the Army of the Potomac, 
and of your gallantry in the earlier battles of the war; of 
the honorable part you bore, in like capacity, in the memor- 
able campaign of General Sherman's army in Tennessee, 
Georgia and the two Carolinas; of your unblemished record 
as an officer, both in the held and in Bureau service ; of your 
later and not less successful discharge of the delicate and 
responsible duties incident to the position you are about to 
resign- — mindful of all this, they are unwilling that von 
should leave for another post without tendering to you some 
expression of their appreciation of your character, both as a 
soldier and a gentleman. 

They beg, therefore, that you will name a day when it 
will be agreeable to yourself to meet your friends at a 
dinner, that they may thus have an opportunity of individu- 
ally assuring you of their high personal esteem and of wish- 


tng you the prosperity and honor which you cannot fail both 
to deserve and receive in the future. 
Very sincerely, 

Your cordial friends, 

Millard Fillmore, and others. 


Feby 11, 1868. 

Mr. [James D.] Warren: If you have room it seems. to 
me this speech is worth publishing, but if not please return 
it as I wish to preserve it. 

Millard Fillmore. 

The above note is written in pencil on the title-page of a Reconstruction 
pamphlet — "Speech of Hon. James Brooks, of New York, in the House of 
Representatives, December iS, 1867" — in the library of the Buffalo Historical 
Society. It was sent to the editor of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, who 
evidently returned it without printing. 


Buffalo, New York, November 24, 1S68. 

My dear General: I had just taken up my pen to thank 
you for an elegant copy of Fitz-Greene Halleck's Poems 
(received through Messrs. Breed & Lent) when your favor 
of yesterday was handed to me. 

I owe you many thanks for this most acceptable present. 
You have done this charming Poet ample justice and your- 
self great credit as Editor; while the topography [typog- 
raphy], paper and binding speak well for the publishers, 
Messrs. D. Appleton & Co. 

I have read and reread many of these beautiful poems, 
which come up almost as fresh as though I had never seen 
them before. It seems to add to their beauty to find them 
in such clear type and on paper so agreeable to the eye. But 
I confess myself a little surprised that Mr. Halleck should 
have supposed Red Jacket to be a Tuscarora chief or king, 


and that he inherited his official distinction. He \ 
Seneca, born on the banks of Seneca lake, rising to his chief- 
tainship and great influence over his nation by the power of 

his own unsurpassed eloquence, and by that alone, as he was 
never distinguished as a warrior. However, the mist; 
merely historical and docs not detract from the beauty of 
the poem. 

I am truly your obliged friend, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Gen. James Grant Wilson, 

New York. 

Original MS. owned by Gen. Jas. Grant Wilson, New York. 


Buffalo, Dec. 9, 1868. 

My dear Sir: I have your favor of the 7th informing 
me that another meeting of the Commissioners has been 
called for the 15th, and kindly repeating your invitation to 
Mrs. F. and myself to visit you at that time. 

Before receiving your letter I had been notified of the 
meeting, and expressed my regret at my inability to attend. 
If I was sure of good weather and Mrs. F. was able to per- 
form the journey, I should certainly discharge my duty by 
attending and enjoy the great pleasure of making you a 
visit; but as you will see by a slip which I enclose, giving 
an account of the recent storm, that there is no reliance to be 
placed upon the weather, and I look with dread upon the 
idea of beins: buried in a snowdrift or thrown from the 
track and burned up in the car. The truth is, that I am 
more reluctant to undertake a journey of 600 miles in winter 
weather than I used to be, and I am very happy to hear that 
my presence will not probably be necessary to form a 

Mrs. F. is much better able to describe her condition than 
I am and she will write Mrs. Harris. But I can not forbear 
to add that when the spring opens and the ground is settled 


so that travelling is reasonably safe and plea-ant. that ) 
intend taking a journey with Mrs. F. and if agreeable to you 
and Mrs. Harris we shall take great pleasure in making you 
a visit, but if not then convenient for you, we shall cer- 
tainly expect to see you here. 
With kind regards to Mrs. H. 

1 am truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Hon. I, Harris. 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Geo. H. Richmond, New York City. 


Buffalo, January 14, 1869. 
Mr. J. M. Stanley, 

Dear Sir: Understanding' that you contemplate remov- 
ing your picture of the "Trial of Red Jacket" to the city of 
New York at the close of the present week and believing 
from the short time it has been on exhibition here many of 
our citizens who desire have not yet seen it, we therefore 
respectfully request, if at all consistent with other arrange- 
ments, that you permit it to remain here on exhibition an- 
other week and thus oblige many who desire a further op- 
portunity to view this splendid painting, the subject of which 
is so intimately connected with the history of Buffalo. 
Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore 

and others. 

James M. Stanley, horn in Canandaigua, Jan. 17, 1814, spent his boyhood 
in Buffalo, while yet. the Senecas lived on Buffalo Creek; became familiar with 
their habits, dress and character, and must often have seen Red Jacket and 
other leaders of the Seneca nation. His career as an artist gave him residence 
in many places — Detroit, Chicago, among the Indians -.vest of the Mississippi 
from Minnesota to New Mexico, in the Sandwich Islands, and, in later year-, 
in Mew York and Washington. He died in Detroit. Apr. 10, 1872. His most 
notable work, a collection of 152 portraits of Indian chiefs, was burned in the 
Smithsonian Institution in 1865. His greatest existing work, the so-called 
"Trial of Red Jacket," records a dramatic scene said to have occurred on the 
banks of Buffalo Creek in 1S02, when Red Jacket, charged by Cornplanter and 
The Prophet with sorcery, successfully defended himself in a thrcediours' 


speech. The canvas, six by tunc feet in sire, contains seventy-two figun . ol 
Indians and whites, and is especially valuable as a record of Sene< 
It is owned by Mr. Stanley's heirs, but since 1895 has been hung in 1' 
torical Building, Buffalo. 


Buffalo, September 21, 1869. 

My dear General: I have your favor of the 18th inst. 
and congratulate you most cordially upon your anticipated 
marriage to the descendant of Peter Stuyvesant's sister 
Madame Bayard: and trust that it may be my good fortune 
at some future time to make the acquaintance of Mrs. Wil- 
son. Please to present to her my compliments and 
wishes for her happiness. 

My few remarks at the Baron Von Humboldt celebration 
were of no importance, but I take pleasure in sending you a 
copy. Believe me, Very truly yours 

Millard Fillmore. 
To Gen. Jas. Grant Wilson. 

Original MS. owned by Gen. Jas. Grant Wilson, New York City. 

Buffalo, Oct. 25, 1869. 
Lyman C. Draper, Esq. 

Dr. Sir: In compliance with your request of Oct. 21st, I 
enclose you the proceedings in this city in celebrating the 
Birth day of Baron Humboldt. My share in the matter was 
merely incedental [sic] and not worth noticing. 

Respectfully yours 

Millard Fillmore 

MS. collections, Wisconsin Historical Society. 


To the Honorable, The Common Council of Buffalo: 

The undersigned in common with all good citizens of 
Buffalo, are proud of its public schools, and are happy to 


observe in your honorable body that liberal spirit which has 
made them what they are and will sieze every opportunity 
to invigorate and improve them. The Central School is 
the crown of the system, the keystone of the arch. We 

most respectfully submit to your better judgment the follow- 
ing" suggestions for its elevation. The more attractive and 
useful you make it, the more active you make a gener- 
ous emulation in the common schools. Is it not desirable 
that the rudiments of the natural sciences should be taught 
there ; that our youth should know something- of the com- 
position and history of the earth on which they are to 
suffer, enjoy and labor, and of the mechanism of their own 
bodies and of the construction and interconnections and 
dependencies of the vast variety of life, animal and vege- 
table, with which the good God beautifies and utilizes the 
earth? Would it not be a great enduring honor to Buffalo 
to be among the first to make its chief school a fountain 
of this precious knowledge? 

The Buffalo Society of Natural Science [s] doe> a credit 
to our city. It has no permanent endowment. It lias so 
far been supported by the annual contributions of its mem- 
bers, and by occasional benefactions of our wealthier cit- 
izens. It has accumulated respectable collections in every 
department of natural history and has always kept those 
collections freely open for the enjoyment and improvement 
of the public. 

It desires to make them as serviceable as possible. It 
has for its custodian a gentleman of varied and extensive 
scientific attainment, and perfectly competent to instruct 
in several of the sciences. It embraces other members, 
who, for the Society's sake, would be willing to impart in- 
struction in other sciences. What otherwise the Society 
would gladly do freely, its pecuniary condition demands 
that it should accept a moderate compensation for. W r e 
understand that it will, that it desires to supply the Central 
School with lectures, illustrated by specimens sufficient to 
give the student accurate knowledge of the principles of 
natural science; and we respectfully pray your Honorable 


Body to entertain this subject and in your wisdom to make 
some fitting arrangements by which the Society may be -> 
honorabl} aided. 

Millard Fillmore 
E. G. Spaulding 
Wm. G. Fargo 

and others. 

The above communication to the Buffalo Common Council was referred to 
the Committee on Schools. 


Buffalo, Feby. 4. 1870. 
Maj.-Genl Barry: 

Dear Sir: Pray excuse me for troubling yon with an 
inquiry. Mrs. Fillmore's physician has advised her to s 
a milder latitude than Buffalo in which to spend the spring 
months, and some have recommended Norfolk; but I am 
unable to ascertain whether there is a good, comfortable 
hotel there; and presuming you can inform me I venture 
to make the inquiry, and also what is the best route to reach 
there. Mrs. Fillmore joins me in kindest regards to yourself 
and family. Truly yQurs 

Millard Fillmore 

to governor john t. hoffman. 

Buffalo. July 13, 1871. 

His Excellency John T. Hoffman, 

Sir: The telegraphic reports have just brought the intel- 
ligence that you have successfully protected the Orangemen 
in their undoubted right to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne. 

Permit me to congratulate you and the country for this 
glorious triumph of law over mob rule, and to thank you 
from the bottom of my heart for the moral courage and true 
statesmanship which your conduct on this trying occasion 
has displayed. 


I am sorry for the poor, deluded victims who have suf- 
fered the just punishment due to their crime- for attempting 
to invade the rights and abridge the liberty of their fellow- 
citizens ; and I am more sorry for the wounded and dying 
who have so nobly shed their blood in vindicating the 
majesty of the law by protecting the innocent. I trust they 
will receive their reward. This example is an awful, warn- 
ing to the lawless and will hereafter save life and property. 
Let all understand that the laws must be sustained though 
the Heavens do fall. 

I write in haste and trust you will pardon me for saying 
thus much. I could not say less and I need not say more 
than that. 

I am your obliged fellow-citizen and servant. 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by Mr. Adrian H. Joline, New York City. 


Buffalo, Aug. 31, 1871. 

Rev. D. H. Muller. 

Dear Sir: In behalf of the "Society for the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals" we respectfully request you to repeat 
the sermon on the subject recently delivered by you at Grace 
M. E. Church. 

Millard Fillmore 

and others. 

in compliance with the above request, the Rev. Dr. Muller delivered his 
sermon, "A plea for the dumb brute," at the Central Presbyterian Church, 
Sept. 3, 1 87 1. 


Mr. Fillmore, as president of the board of trustees of 
the Grosvenor Library in Buffalo, prepared its first annual 
report after it was opened to the public, for the year 1871, 
to which was prefixed the following statement: 


The undersigned, trustees of the Grosvcnor library, re- 
spect fully report: 

That they, together with Lorenzo K. Haddock, were ap- 
pointed trustees of the said library Dec. 5, 1870, and entered 
upon the duties of their office about the first of January, 
1871. That the said Lorenzo K. Haddock died on the 20th 
day of April, 1.87 1, and on the 24th Nelson K. Hopkins was 
appointed to fill the vacancy. 

Deeming it important to put the library in immediate 
operation, they commenced the purchase of such books as 
they thought would be useful to those for whom the library 
was intended, and it now consists of some 10,000 volumes; 
but as the accession catalogue is not yet completed, they 
cannot give the exact number. 

It was found that more cases were required, and they 
were duplicated, and cases were procured for large illus- 
trated works, that they might be secured under lock and 
key. Chairs, tables, map-racks, atlas stands, &c, were 
added, and, for general convenience, water was introduced. 
To accommodate those who might wish to consult the Li- 
brary in the evening, gas was also introduced. 

The foundation fund bequeathed by the will of the late 
Seth Grosvenor amounts to $30,000, which is invested in 
city bonds bearing 7 per cent, interest, and to which the 
Trustees, for the present, have determined to acid from the 
accumulation $10,000 more. The books purchased are 
chiefly for reference, and generally in the English language; 
but some are in Latin, Greek, French and German, and they 
intend soon to add more in the German language. 

The financial condition of the Library will appear by the 
schedule annexed. All of which is respectfully submitted. 

Millard Fi ll more 
G. W. Heacock 

Feb. 1, 1872. 

The detailed balance-sheet shows, in its totals, a book fund of $61,022.42; 
city appropriation fund, $7,349.88; and building fund, $22,450.40. 

The Grosvenor Library was founded by Seth Grosvenor, an early merchant 
of Buffalo. The last years of his life were spent in New York, where he died; 
but he remembered Buffalo in his will and bequeathed to the city thirty thou- 


.-inii dollars, the interest of which was to be used for the purchase of books 
'that would have a tendency "to improve the rising generation." Ten thou nd 

dollars additional was appropriated towards too erection of a ftrepi i lib :, 
building. The Grosvenor Library was chartered by the State April 11, 1859, 
and a board of trustees was appointed, which cared for the fund and made 
temporary arrangements for the institution. .A subsequent board of trustees, 
appointed in December, 1S70, consisted as above stated of Millard Fillmore, 
Chairman; the Rev. C. W. Heacuck and L. K. Haddock. It was under the 
administration of the board headed by Mr. Fillmore that the institution made 
its first substantial growth in books and came to be of marked usefulness in 
the community. At the time of Mr. Fillmore's administration, it occupied 
rooms in the Buffalo Savings Bank Building, where it continued until the 
present building was erected. 


Buffalo.. May 13, 1872. 

My dear General: Your favor of the 8th in si. has just 
come to hand, as I am on the. point of leaving with Mrs. 
Fillmore for New York, where I hope to have the pleasure 
of seeing you, and then I shall be most happy to do anything 
for you in my power. We shall stop at the Fifth Avenue 

Believe me in haste. 

Truly yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 
Gen. Jas. Grant Wilson, 

New York. 

Original MS. owned by Gen. Jas. Grant Wilson, New York. 


Buffalo, Nov. 9, 1872. 

Mr. David E. Brown, President, 

Young Men's Association, Grace M. E. Church: 
Dear Sir: We learn with much pleasure that your Asso- 
ciation has determined to give the news-boys and boot-blacks 
of our city a Thanksgiving dinner. Not only shall we coun- 
tenance and encourage the undertaking by availing ourselves 


of the invitation to be present on the occasion, but we ' 
deem it a privilege to contribute towards the sup]' 1 )- of 
table, as we doubt not that many others of our citizens will 
do; and as your Association has taken the initiative in 
work, we would beg to suggest that you adopt measures for 
the establishment of some permanent help for this class of 
boys, perhaps a home or lodging-house, or other form of 
aid such as you may deem most advantageous and to tin- 
fund we. will gladly contribute also. 

Millard Fillmore 

and others. 

The Young Men's Association of Grace M. E. Church originated the 
Thanksgiving dinners for Buffalo newsboys and bootblacks. Out of that en- 
terprise, ultimately grew the Newsboys' and Bootblacks' Home. No name has 
been more prominent in the history of this good work in Bur.. do than that of 
David E. Brown. 



Mr. Selsted [sic] 

I have a severe cold which has confined me to my room 
for two days, and I am afraid to sit this morning. If agree- 
able, I will go on Monday at g]/ 2 A. M. 

In haste 

Truly yours 

Millard Fillmore 
Saturday, Dec. 27 [? 1872] 

Original MS. owned by the Chicago Historical Society. 
Mr. Sellstedt at this time was painting Mr. Fillmore's portrait. 


Buffalo, May 3, 1873. 

My dear Mrs. Brooks: I have just received the painful 
intelligence of your lamented husband's death; and although 
I was in some measure prepared for this sad event by the 
newspaper reports of his illness, yet I now feel that I did 
not fully realize it. 


Me was my old, my esteemed friend, and as such I may 
be permitted to mingle my tears with yours at this irre- 
parable loss. I know that nothing which I can say can 

assuage your grief, and the consolations of the Christian's 
hope can alone bring relief, and these yon fortunately 

But I have felt the pangs of bereavement, the darkness 
that settles on everything when the tenderest ties of life are 
sundered, and, therefore, I can sympathize most deeply with 
you in this bereavement. But it must be a consolation to 
know that he died universally esteemed and respected, and 
that in his last moments he was surrounded and comforted 
by his family and friends. 

Sincerely your friend, 

Millard Fillmore. 
[To Mrs. James Brooks] 


Buffalo, N. Y., Nov. 15, 1873. 
Rev. D. H. Mueller: 

Dear Sir: Mrs. H. R. Seymour showed me a letter from 
you stating that there was a movement in ^Rochester to or- 
ganize a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 
and that an adjourned meeting would be held on Monday 
the 17th instant, and expressing a wish that several persons 
whom you named from Buffalo (including myself), would 
attend the adjourned meeting. I hope some of those named 
will be able to attend, but I regret to say that it will not be 
convenient for me to do so. But I cannot forego the expres- 
sion of gratification I feel at your announcement. I most 
sincerely congratulate you and the citizens of Rochester 
upon this movement. How a Christian community can 
stand idly by and see the cruelty and torture which are daily 
afflicted upon the brute creation is to me inconceivable. 

But like all reformers, those who engage in it must be 
prepared to meet the cold indifference of the thoughtless 


multitude, the ridicule and scoff of the reckless, and t 1 .-- 
savage malignity of the cruel; but it is a good causi . Lei 
none shrink from the performance of their duty, and public 
sentiment will at length sustain them, and the result will be 
that much suffering' of the dumb animals, which have no 
tongue to tell their grievances, will be prevented. 

Judging from my own experience here, 1 think that the 
clergy and the ladies may do much to aid you in this n 
work. The Rev. Dr. Lord was the first in this city to preach 
from the pulpit humanity and kindne.-s to all of I 
creatures, and he was followed by several others, and J. am 
satisfied that the preaching had a most salutary effect, hut I 
must say to the shame of my own sex here (with many hon- 
orable exceptions), that the ladies have been the chief 
workers in this good cause, and among these Mrs. Lord, 
wife of the Doctor, his niece Miss Lucy Lord, and Mrs. II. 
R. Seymour, President of the Ladies' Association here, are 
conspicuous for their indefatigable and judicious labors. 
They have been faithful and persevering regardless of all 
opposition, and they and their good sisters who have enlisted 
in the cause, are entitled to all the praise. Let their noble 
example be followed by the ladies of Rochester, and we 
shall see a revolution in public sentiment alike creditable to 
the human species and beneficial to the brute creation. 

That God may prosper their efforts is the sincere prayer 
of Your obedient servant, 

Millard Fillmore. 


On the death of Judge Rufus W. Peckham, a committee 
representing the Bar of Albany County sent to Mr. Fillmore 
an invitation for himself and other members of the Erie 
County Bar to share in a memorial meeting to be held in 
the Senate Chamber at the Capitol, on December 17th. This 
notice was sent to the Commercial Advertiser with the ac- 
companying note: 


Buffalo, Dec. 15, 1S73. 

Editor Buffalo Commercial Advertiser: 

1 have just received the enclosed invitation to attend a 
meeting- of the Bar of the State to be held at Albany on .the 
17th instant to commemorate the life and public services 
of the late Judge Pat f us W. Peckham, with a request that I 
would extend a similar invitation to the members of the 
Bar in this vicinity, which T beg leave to do in this way, 
through your valuable paper. 

Respectfully yours, 

Millard Fillmore. 

P. S. Courier and Express please copy. 

The following- letters became available for the present 
publication too late for use in proper chronological order: 


Buffalo, April 28, 1846. 

My dear Sir: Being absent I did not receive your letter 
of the 25th until yesterday and of course it was quite too 
late to do anything to procure the nomination of Dr. Lee to 
the Convention. The ticket had already been filled and 
today the election is quietly progressing, with more apparent 
apathy than I ever witnessed before at a general election. 

I do not think, however, that it would have been in my 
power, — had I desired it, — to have procured the nomination 
of Dr. Lee. I think very well of the Doctor, though I do not 
concur in all his views of reform. But that is a matter that 
I do not intend to discuss in this letter or indeed in any other 
way or at any other time. I think much may and ought to 
be done for the improvement of society. — I am for progress, 
guided by experience, and regulated by sound discretion ; 
but opposed to all mere theoretical speculations and wild 
experiments. But again I say I will not discuss this subject. 


Be assured that I was gratified to hear from you, tho 
out of my power to comply with your wishes. Though ! 
have discarded politics, yet 1 have not, and trust J n 
shall, discard my old political friends — and I need not sa\ 
I rank you among that number. 

I hope soon to have the pleasure of seeing- you and tal 
you by the hand, when we can discuss all these matters more 

Millard Fillmore. 
H. Greeley, Esq. 

The above refers to the canvass for delegates to the New York Constitu- 
tional Convention. 


Washington City, February 16, 1852. 
Henry O'Reilly, Esqr. 

Dear Sir: i have your letter of the 12th inst. and have 
perused it with pleasure, as I take a deep interest in any pro- 
ject calculated to facilitate the intercommunication between 
the Atlantic and the Pacific States. If we cannot bind those 
states to us by roads, railroads and telegraph lines we may 
soon see them setting up for independence. The home tie 
which binds the Californian to his native State on the Atlan- 
tic, will grow weaker every day, and a new generation will 
soon arise that know not the East and then the only bond of 
union will be a common country and a common glory and a 
common interest, that can only be equal by a free and unin- 
terrupted communication from the seat of government to 
every part of this widespread Republic. 

I shall be happy to receive a copy of that part of the 
report of the St. Louis National Convention to which you 
refer and after I have had time to peruse it, it will give me 
pleasure to receive from you any verbal explanation which 
you may be pleased to give. 

I am your obt. servt. 

Millard Fillmore. 

Original MS. owned by the Rochester (N. Y.) Historical Society. 

Died August 11, 1831. 


I, Millard Fillmore of the City of Buffalo in the State of New 
York, do make, publish and declare this my last will and testament, 
in manner following that is to say: 

Believing that the laws of the State of New York have provided 
for as equitable a distribution of the little property which I am 
likely to leave, at my decease, as I could make by will, except that in 
a few particular cases, it is therefore my desire to leave its distribu- 
tion and descent to the operation of law and the ante-nuptial con- 
tract existing between me and my beloved wife Caroline C, except 
as hereinafter expressed. 

First. I feel it a duty and a pleasure to record my dying testi- 
mony to the noble qualities of my beloved wife Caroline C, who 
has ever proved a kind, affectionate and devoted wife, and I hereby 
ratify and confirm the ante-nuptial contract between us; and wish 
my executors and heirs to see it fully and faithfully carried out and 
executed, and if she and my son Millard Powers shall both survive 
me, I hope and trust that they may love each other as I have loved 
them; and as they will both be orphans, indeed, I hope also that 
they will mutually render to each other every assistance due from 
a most affectionate parent to a beloved child, and from a most affec- 
tionate and dutiful child to a beloved parent ; and with this I shall 
rest in peace. 

Secondly. I hereby release and bequeath unto each of my 
brothers, Cyrus Fillmore and Calvin T. Fillmore, all claims of every 
name and nature which at my decease I may have against them or 
either of them or their heirs or legal representatives; and 1 hereby 
authorize my executors or either of them to acknowledge the same 

Thirdly. I give and bequeath unto each of my sisters Olive A. 
Johnson and Julia Harris an annual annuity of four hundred dollars 
per annum during her natural life, to be paid to each of them quar- 
ter-yearly, for her sole use and benefit free from all claim or control 
of her husband. 


Fourthly. I give and bequeath to my brother Calvin T. Filln - 
and Lis -.vile Miranda, and the survivor of ihem and to his 01 
heirs and assign?, the farm of one hundred acres, now occupi< 
him in the town of Scio, Washtenaw county, Michigan, being the 
n. w. quarter of section number twenty-three in town-hip no. two, 
south of range no. five east, excepting the east sixty acres. 

Fifthly. 1 give one thousand dollars to the Buffalo Orphan 
Asylum, to be securely invested in bond and mortgage for the bene- 
fit of said asylum. 

Sixthly. I leave all the rest and residue of my estate, real and 
personal, to the operation of the said ante-nuptial contract, which 
fixes and settles the rights and claims of my said wife, in and to m> 
estate, in lieu of all other claims; and the remainder of said estate 
I leave to be inherited and distributed according to the laws of the 
State of New York, except as herein otherwise directed. But as 
the objects nearest my heart are my dear wife and son, I will and 
desire that during their joint lives they shall share equally in the 
net income of my estate, and if after the payment of all charges 
thereon, including said bequests, annuities and the third due my 
said wife by the ante-nuptial contract, my son's share thereof shall 
be more than said third, then my will and desire are that the sur- 
plus be equally divided between them; and in case my wife shall 
survive my son, then after his death 1 will and desire that she shall 
during her natural life, receive one half of the net income of my 
estate without deducting from such half any part of the annuities 
herein granted, instead of the third as provided in said ante-nuptial 
contract; and I hereby, appoint my said wife Caroline C, and my 
said son Millard P., and my friend Nathan K. Hall, executrix and 
executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all 
former wills by me made. 

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal at 
Buffalo this 8th day of December eighteen hundred and sixty-five. 

Millard Fillmore 

Wit Ketchum 
O. H. Marshall 

A codicil, Sept. 19, 1868. increases the annuity to his sisters from 
$400 to $600, A second codicil, Apr. 28, 1873, gives to Calvin T. 
Fillmore an annuity of $500 in lieu of the farm; and also provides 
"that after the payment of my funeral expenses, and all just debts 
and the bequest to the Orphan Asylum, thai all my personal property 


is soon as conveniently may be, be invested in United States or New 
York State bonds, or bonds of the New York Central & Hui 
River Railroad and out of the interest accruing thereon the said 
annuities shall first be paid, and all taxes and assessments upon my 
real and personal estate whether occupied or possessed by my said 
wife or not, and the balance I hereby bequeath to my said wife, and 
direct the same to be paid to her during her natural life"; there- 
after, to be disposed of under the State laws. 



The Agitation of Slavery. Who commenced and who can end it? 
Buchanan and Fillmore compared from the record. [Quot. <?/.] 
Washington: Printed at the Union office. 1856. 8vo. pp. 27. 

American Party campaign pamphlets, 1855-1856: 

The arrival, reception and speeches of Millard Fillmore, from New 
York to Buffalo. New York: Robert M. DeWitt. [1856.] Svo. 
pp. 16. 

Facts for the People. "Truth is mighty and will prevail." n. p., 
n. d. [1856.] 

Fillmore & Donelson campaign pamphlet; proceedings of the 
Whig National Convention, etc. 

Fillmore on the great questions of the day. The arrival, reception, 
progress, and speeches of Millard Fillmore. Svo. pp. 16. New 
York: R. M. DeWitt. 

The Fillmore and Donelson Songster. Svo. New York: Robert 
M. DeWitt. 

Great Fillmore meeting, held at the Academy of Music, in the City 
of New York. [Quot. 7 /.] Also, a message from, President 
Fillmore, on the 6th August, 1850. New York: M. B. Wynkoop. 
. . . 1856. Svo. pp. 24. 

The illustrated life of Millard Fillmore. Svo. pp. 32. Six woodcuts. 

New York: Robert M. DeWitt. 

Levin, Lewis C. The Union safe! The contest between Fillmore 
and Buchanan! Fremont crushed, n. p., n. d. [1856.] Svo. pp. 7- 
Addressed "to the Americans of Pennsylvania." 

Letters to the people, from Washington Hunt, Daniel D. Barnard, 
and Sam. Houston. Buffalo [1856]. Svo. pp. 16. 

Principles and objects of the American Party. New York, 1855. 
8vo. pp. 36. 



Read! Digest! Act! A few facts or reasons why or for whom ! 
may vote!!! by a New York merchant. [Quot *l] Mil 
Fillmore, the candidate of the American Party. . ' n p j 
[New York, 1856.] 8vo. pp. 32. 

Barnard, (Hon.) Daniel D. Letter from the, addressed to T 
A. Hamilton, Esq., on the political condition of the country, 
the state of parties, and in favor of Millard Fillmore for Pi 
dent. Albany: J. Munsell, 78 State street. 1S56. 8vo. pp. 16. 

Barre, W. L. The Life and public services of Millard Fillmore. By 
W. L. 13a rre of Kentucky. Buffalo: Wanzer, McKim & Co. 
1856. i2mo. pp. 40S. Steel portrait. 

Bradlee, (Rev.) C. D. Death and the Resurrection. A sermon 
preached on Sunday, March 15, 1874. ... A sacred tributi 
placed upon the graves of Millard Fillmore and Charles Sumner. 
[Quot. 1 1.) Boston: Press of John Wilson and Son. 1874. 
i2mo. pp. 20. 

Brooks, (Hon.) Erastus. Speech of, at Hartford, Conn.. July 8, 
1856. Mr. Fillmore's claims on Northern men and Union nun, 
for the Presidency, n. p. 1856. 8vo. pp. 16. 

Brooks, (Hon.) James. Defence of Mr. Fillmore by lion. James 
Brooks (of New York), before a meeting of the American Party, 
held at Cincinnati, Friday evening, May 30, 1856. New York: 
. R. M. DeWitt. 1856. 8vo. pp. 16. 

Carroll, Anna Ella. The Great American Battle; or the contest 
between Christianity and political Romanism. By Anna Ella Car- 
roll of Maryland. [Quo!. 1 /.] New York and Auburn: Miller, 
Orton & Mulligan. . . . 1856. i2mo. pp. 365. Steel ports. 

In advocacy of the American Party, with exposition of its 
principles, and praise of Fillmore as its candidate for President. 

Carroll, Anna Ella. Who shall be President? An appeal to the 
people. By Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland. Boston: James 
French & Co. 1856. 121110. pp. n. 

An argument in behalf of Fillmore and the American Party. 

[Chamberlain, Ivory.] Biography of Millard Fillmore. Buffalo: 
Thomas & Lathrops. Auburn and New York: Miller, Orton & 
Mulligan. 1S56. i2mo. pp. 215. Steel port. 

Dr. Thomas M. Foote, editor of the Buffalo Commercial Ad- 
vertiser^ whom Mr. Fillmore made Minister to Austria, had pro- 
jected a life of Fillmore, but failing health compelled the aban- 
donment of the project. Use of the material which he had pre 
pared, devolved on Dr. Foote's associate on the Commercial 
staff, Mr. Ivory Chamberlain, whose anonymous biography of 
Millard Fillmore is in some respects the most satisfactory yet 

"Citizen." Pseud. Sec Sizek, Thomas J. 
"Cms." Pseud. See Putnam, (Hon.) James O. 


Conkling, ROSCOE. [Remarks in the U. S. Senate, Meh. 10, 1874.] 
See Congressional Globe, iS-j. 

C[ooke], (Rev.) J[oshua]. Reminiscences of the Buffalo liar of 
Sixty Years Ago, By a law student of that period. Sec Hospital 
Topics, Buffalo. April, 1907. 

The first chapter is devoted to Millard Fillmore. 

Dawes, Henry L., et al. [Remarks on the death of Mr. Fillmore, 

House of Representatives, Mch. 10, 1874.] See Congressional 
Globe, 1874. 

Delavan, Edward C. Speech of, at a meeting of the friends of Mr. 
Fillmore, at Ballston, Aug. 9, 1856. n. p. [1856.] 8vo. pp. 4. 

DeWees, Jacob, M. D. An appeal to common sense and patriotism 
of the friends of 'Millard Fillmore in Schuylkill county. By ) cob 
DeWees, M. D. [Quot. 2 I.} Pottsville [Pa.] : Printed by John 

C. Neville. 1S56. 8vo. pp. 8. 

Duyckinck, Evert A., Editor. Millard Fillmore. 

In "National portrait gallery of eminent Americans," etc., New 
York, 1864. 

Elles, G. E, D. D. Millard Fillmore. 

In Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed., vol. ix. 

Fargo, Frank F. Millard Fillmore. 

In his "Biographical sketches and portraits of 100 Buffalo- 
nians," pp. 14-15. 

Fillmore, Millard. Address and suppressed report of the minority 
of the Committee on Elections on the New Jersey case. Pre- 
sented to the House of Representatives, March^io, 1840, together 
with the remarks of Mr. Fillmore. [Quot. <?/.] Washington: 
Printed at the Madisonian Office. 1840. 8vo. pp. 16. 

[Fillmore, Millard.] An Examination of the Question, "Is it right 
to require any religious test as a qualification to be a witness in 
a court of justice?" By Juridicus. Buffalo: Printed by Charles 
Faxon. 1832. i2mo. pp. 16. 

First printed in the Buffalo Patriot. Reprinted, Buf. Hist. 
Soc. Pubs., vol. x, pp. 67-82; q. v. 

Fillmore. Millard. Great Central Fair. Ex-President Filhnorc's 
address. Anson G. Chester's poem. David Gray's poem. To- 
gether with Washington's Farewell Address. Buffalo: Joseph 
Warren & Co., publishers, 178 Washington St. 1864. i6mo. 
PP- 25. 

Fillmore, Millard. His early history, written by himself. See 
Publications, Buffalo Historical Society, vol. ii. Buffalo, 1880. 

Reprinted, Buf. Hist. Soc. Pubs., vol. x, from the original 
manuscript, in the possession of the Buffalo Historical Society. 


Fillmore. Millard. Letter of Mr. Fillmore to his constituents, and 
his remarks in the. House of Representatives on the New Jer . 
cohU.yi.ed election, delivered March 6, 7 ;'.mi 12, 1840. n. p., n. d 
[Washington, 1840.] 8vo. pp. 16. 

The letter to his constituents (s l A pp.) is supplemented with 
transcripts from the House Journal, giving Mr. Fillmore's sh re 

in the debate on the dates given above. 

Fillmore, Millard. Mr. Fillmore at home. His reception at New 
York and Brooklyn, and progress through the State to hi; resi- 
dence in Buffalo, n. p., 11. d. [? New York, 1856.] Svo. pp. 24. 
Chiefly extracts from Mr. Fillmore's speeches. 

Fillmore, Millard. Speech of Mr. Fillmore of New York on the 
bill to suspend the payment of the Fourth Instalment of the sur- 
plus revenue to the Stares. Delivered in the House of Represen- 
tatives, Sept. 2$, 1837. Washington: Printed by Gales is. Seaton. 
1837. Svo. pp. 16. 

Fillmore, Millard. Speech of Mr. Fillmore of New York, on the 
Revenue Bill. Delivered in the House of Representatives of the. 
United States. July 24, 1841. Washington, 18.41. Svo. pp. 16. 

Fillmore, Millard. Speech of Mr. Fillmore of New York, on the 
Tariff Bill. Delivered in the Committee of the Whole, House 01 
Representatives, June 9. 1842. Washington: Printed at the Na- 
tional Intelligencer Office. 1842. Svo. pp. 24. 

Fillmore, Millard. The suppressed portion of President Fillmore's 
Annual Message to Congress, on the 6th December, 1852, relating 
to Slavery, n. p. [Buffalo — "Thomas, Typographer"], n. d. Svo. 
PP. 8- 

Reprinted in the present collection, I Fillmore, pp. 311-324. 

Fillmore, Millard. [Youthful experiences at Sparta, N. Y., in 

Letter to Wm. Scott, July 28, i860, printed in Rochester Union 
and Advertiser, Mch. 13, 1874. This letter is the source of data 
used in Doty's '"History of Livingston Co." 

Fillmore Administration. Sec among others: 

Andrews. E. Bent. History of the United States (1894), vol. ii., 

PP. 34, 58. 
Conkling, Viola A. American political history to the death of 

Lincoln (iqoj), PP- 311-318. 
Elson, Henry W. Sidelights on American history (1899), pp. 262 

et seq. 
HARRIS, Alexander. Review of the political conflict in America 

(1876), ch. 8, 9- 
Johnston, A. History of American politics (1S79; 2d ed. 18S4). 
Lossing, Benson J. Family history of the United States, pp. 501- 



McClure, Alex. K. Our Presidents and how we make them (1900). 

McLaughlin, Andrew C. History of the American nation (1899) 
pp. 382-386. 

PP- 329-339. 

Morris, Chas. History of the United States (1898), 

REDPA.TH, James. Popular history of the United States (1876) pp 

Rhodes, James Ford. History of the United States from the Com- 
promise of 1850 (ed. 1904), vol. i, ch. 2, 3. 

Schouler, James. Eighty years of Union (1903), pp. 295, 352, 360. 

Schouler, James. History of the United States of America under 
the Constitution. 5 vols. 

Vol. iv, Fillmore in 1S42; vol. v, Fillmore as President, in 
retirement, etc. 

SchurZj Carl. Life of Henry Clay, vol. ii. 

Scudder, H. E. History of the United States (1897). 

Smith, Theodore Clarke. Parties and slavery. (In "The Ameri- 
can nation: a history/' A. B. Hart, ed. vol. xviii.) 1906. 

Stanwood, Edward. History of the Presidency (1900), pp. 243 ei 

Von Holst, H. E. (Lalor trans.) Constitutional and political his- 
tory of the L T nited States (1885-1892), vols, iv, vi. 

Von Hoist discusses Mr. Fillmore's candidacy at length, and 
dwells especially on his relations with Webster. He also men- 
tions a draft of a letter which Mr. Fillmore submitted to his 
Cabinet (Mch., 1853) declaring that he was not to be considered 
as a candidate for the Presidency; he proposed to include this 
draft in his annual message, but it was stricken out. 

Wilson, Woodrow. History of the American people (1902) ; vol. iv, 
pp. 129, 140-150. 

Fillmore biography. Sec among others: 

American Annual Cyclopaedia (Appleton). New York, 1874. 
American Cyclopaedia (Appleton), revised ed. Vol. vii. New York, 

The American Review "devoted to politics and literature," Oct. 1848. 

Steel port, from daguerreotype by Brady, N. Y. 

Auburn (N. Y.) Journal [about Oct. 1, 1844]. Reprinted, Buffalo 
Commercial Advertiser, Oct. 5, 1S44. (2 cols.) 

Drake's Dictionary of American Biography. Boston, 1S72. 

Lamb's biographical dictionary of the United States. Vol. iii. Bos- 
ton, 1900. 


Fillmore's political history and position. George Law a id Ch • 
Shaffer's reasons for repudiating Fillmore and Done! on. 
Speech of Hon. E. B. Morgan. . . . Aug. 4. 1836. New York 
{Tribune Press.] Svo. pp. 16. 

Republican campaign document of 1856, hostile to the Ameri- 
can Party and Mr. Fillmore. 

Fiske, Frank \Y. [Remarks on Mr. Fillmore. Buffalo Board of 
Trade, Men. 10, 1S74.] Printed, Buffalo Courier, Mch. n, 1874. 

[Greeley, Horace] Millard Fillmore. See the Whig Almanac for 
1851. New York: Greeley & McElrath. 

A one-page review of Mr. Fillmore's career up to 1S51 ; ac- 
curate and valuable. 

Griffis, Wm. Elliot, (D. D., L. II. D.) Millard Fillmore and his 
part in the opening of Japan. An address delivered before the 
Buffalo Historical Society, Friday evening, Dec. 15, 1005. See 
Publications, Buffalo Historical Society, vol. ix, 1906. 

Griswold, R. W. Millard Fillmore, thirteenth President of the 
United States. Porr. Sec Sartain's Union Magazine of Litera- 
ture and Art, Sept. 1850. 

Haven, (Mrs.) S. G. [Fillmore reminiscences.] Buffalo Express, 
Jan. 15, 1899. 

Buffalo Historical Society paper, reprinted in present collec- 

Hosmer, (Rev.) George W., (D. D. of Newton, Mass.) Sketch of the 
Life of the Hon. Millard Fillmore, thirteenth President of the 
United States. See New England Historical & Genealogical 
Register, vol. xxxi, pp. 9-16. Boston, 1877. 

Hotchktss. (Rev.) V. R., (D. D.). The life and character of Mil- 
lard Fillmore. 

Memorial sermon delivered Washington-st. Baptist Church, 
Buffalo, Mch. 15, 1874. Printed, Buffalo Courier, Mch. 16, 1874. 

Is Millard Fillmore an Abolitionist? Boston: American Patriot 
Office. 1856. Svo. pp. 29. 

A reissue, with preface, of the anti-Fillmore pamphlet, "The 
Agitation of Slavery." 

In Memoriam. Millard Fillmore. 

See Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Mch. 0. 1874, the day- 
after Mr. Fillmore's death; reprinted with additional matter (14 
cols.) Mch. 12. 

Johnson, Crisfiei.d. Centennial history of Erie County, N. Y. . . . 
Buffalo, 1876. 

Contains numerous anecdotes of Mr. Fillmore, some apoc- 

"Juridicus." Pseud. See [Fillmore, Millard]. 



Ketchum, (Hem.) Hiram. Connecticut aroused! Grcal demonstra- 
tion at New Haven. Speech of Hon. Hiram Ketchum. n. p. 
1S56. 8vo. pp. 16. 

Letchwqrth, (Hon.) Wm. P. [Remarks on Mr. Fillm re, al meet- 
ing of Buffalo Academy oi Fine Arts. Mch. 18, 1874.] Printed, 

Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Mch. 19, 1874. 

The life and administration of ex-President Fillmore (from 
Walker's "Statesman's Manual"), to which are added, reason 
his election to the Presidency, extracts from his recent -\ 1 
and a sketch of the life of Andrew Jackson Uonelson, of Ten- 
nessee. [Cut and quot.] New York: Edward Walker 

1S56. 8vo. pp. 48. Steel portrait; marginal niottos on title-page. 

M , E. M. In Memoriam. Millard Fillmore. [Buffalo, 1874.] 

i2mo. pp. 4. 

A poem prepared for a meeting of the Literary Circle, Buffalo. 

"Madison." Twelve letters, over the signature of "Madison," on the 
American question, written by a distinguished Virginian, n. p., 
n. d. [1856.] Svo. pp. 32. 

Millard Fillmore. Address of the New Orleans Centra! Rough and 
Ready Club to the People of Louisiana New Orleans, 184S. Svo. 
pp. 16. 

Campaign pamphlet in defense of Fillmore ''from a systematic 
course of detraction, as malignant in its purposes as foul in its 

Millard Fillmore's platform, made by himself, and his speeches, 
n. p., n. d. [New Orleans, 1S56.] Svo. pp. 16. 

A Southern campaign document favorable to Fillmore.^ An- 
other of the same series, ''Defence of Millard Fillmore by Demo- 
cratic statesmen, orators and journals," is mentioned, but has not 
been seen by the present compiler. 

Powers, C, 3/. D. The life and times of Millard Fillmore. 

Paper read before the Cayuga Co. Historical Society. Auburn, 
N Y., Oct. 13, 1879. Printed, Moravia Valley Register, Feb. 27, 

Proceedings of the Fillmore and Donelson New Jersey State Con- 
vention. . . . The platform adopted, etc. n. p., n. d. Svo. pp. 16. 

Putnam, (Hon.) James O. American principles. A speech deliv- 
ered by Hon. James O. Putnam, at a Fillmore and Donelson 
ratification meeting in Rochester, March 3d, 1856. n. p., n. d. 
8vo. pp. 16. 

Putnam, (Hon.) James O. [Fillmore memories.] Printed, Buffalo 
Commercial Advertiser, Jan. 11, 1899-. Buffalo Historical Society 
address, included in the present collection. 

[Putnam, (Hon.) James O.] [Letters replying to Thos. J. Sizer, 
and in defence of Mr. Fillmore, signed "CTvis."] Buffalo Com- 
mercial Advertiser, March 4th and 10th, 1891 ; Buffalo Express. 
March 21, 1891. 


Putnam, (Hon.) James O. Millard Fillmore. Remarks before I 
Buffalo Historical Society, on seconding resolutions upoi 
casion of the death of ex-President Fillmore. [Mch. n, 187; j 

In "Addresses, Speeches and Miscellanies." b> James O. Put- 
nam, Buffalo, 1S80. Reprinted in this volume. 

Richardson, James D. Millard Fillmore (with his messages to 
Congress, etc.) See, "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers 
of the Presidents. 17S9-1897." Washington, 1900; vol. v, pp. 63- 
191; with portrait from the original in the White House bv 

Sargent, Nathan. Public men and events ... to the close of 
Mr. Fillmore's administration. . . . Phila. 1874. 2 vols. 

Sellstedt, Lars Gustaf. From Forecastle to Academy. . . . Buf- 
falo, 1904. 

Reminiscences of Fillmore, pp. 337-340. Mr. Sellstedt pa- 
three portraits of Mr. Fillmore. 

Shelton, (Rev.) Wm. [Sermon at funeral of Millard Fillmore, 
Mch. 12, 1874.] Printed, Buffalo Courier, Mch. 13, 1874. 

[Sizer, Thomas ].] [Letters condemning Mr. Fillmore's political 
course.] Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, March 4, 1891 ; Buf- 
falo Express, Mch. 26, 1891 ; signed "Citizen." 

Spoffard, A. R., ct at., eds. Millard Fillmore. 

In "Library of historic characters and famous events," 1899- 
1900; vol. xi., pp. 331-334- 
Stoddard, Wm. 0. Lives of the Presidents. . . . i6mo. pp. ^22. 

One chapter is devoted to Mr. Fillmore. 

Stuart, (Hon.) Alexander H. H. [Eulogy of Millard Fillmore 
before the Virginia Legislature.] 

Printed, Richmond Dispatch, Mch. 14, 1874; Buffalo Courier, 
Mch. 16, 1874. 

Stuart, (Rev.) D. M. The late Millard Fillmore. See Buffalo Com- 
mercial Advertiser, Mch. 14, 1S74. 

Reminiscences of Mr. Fillmore's early relations with Judge 
Wm. Scott, Benjamin Hungerford, etc. 

Thompson, R. W. Millard Fillmore. Port. 

In his "Recollections of Sixteen Presidents." 1894. Vol. ii, 

PP- 3I3-33I- 
To the people of Louisiana, n. p., 11. d. 8vo. pp. 12. 

Campaign pamphlet, apparently of 1856, hostile to Fillmore 

because of his abolitionism. 
A True Account of the singular suffering of John Fillmore ... to 

which is added a brief biography of Hon. Millard Fillmore of 

Buffalo. Utica: Printed for Russell Potter. 1851. L2mo. pp. 24. 
The Twins, being two poems: The Lament, by the President; and 

The Vision, by the ex-President. Edited by John Verity, Esq. 

n. p. 1S56. 8vo. pp. 56. 



Fillmore campaign playfulness, naturally not of a high poetic 

"That the world was made for Fillmore," thou dost most truly sai 
. And, "Fillmore, to rule the world, as the sun to shim by day." 
No wonder the people do inquire, upon what meat 
Doth Fillmore feed, that he has grown so great? 

When I was a little boy to Buffalo I came, 

And here I've grown so great, the world scarce holds my fame, 

etc. Mr. Fillmore's speeches, delivered on his return from 
Europe, in many towns from New York to Buffalo, are parodied 
and feebly burlesqued. 

Walker, Edward. Life and Administration of ex-President Fill- 
more. From Walker's Statesman's Manual, to which are added, 
reasons for his election to the Presidency, extracts from his re- 
cent speeches. . . . New York, 1856. Port. 

Weed, Thurlow. Life of. . . . Boston, 18S4. 2 vols. 

< Both vol. i ("Autobiography") and vol. ii ("Memoir") con- 
tain much relative to Air. Fillmore. 

White, Andrew D. Autobiography. . . . New York, 1905 ; 2 vols. 
Reminiscences of Fillmore, vol. i, pp. 59-60. 

White, (Rev.) Erskine N. [Life and character of Millard Fill- 

Delivered, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Buffalo . . . 
1874. Printed, Buffalo Courier, Mch. 16, 1874. 

Who commenced! and who can end it!! Buchanan and Fillmore 
compared from the record. [Washington, 1856.] 8vo. pp. 32. 

Prepared by the Democratic National Committee at Washing- 
ton, for circulation in the Southern States, in favor of Buchanan 
and against Fillmore. 

Wilson, (Gen.) James Grant. [Millard Fillmore:' Address before 
the Buffalo Historical Society, at a club meeting, Buffalo, Jan. 7, 

Printed, Buffalo Daily Courier, Jan. 8, 1878. Revised by the 
author and reprinted in the present collection. 

Wilson, (Gen.) James Grant. Millard Fillmore. See Appleton's 

Cyclopaedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant 
Wilson and John Fiske. New York, 1900. 

Wilson, (Gen.) James Grant. Millard Fillmore. 

In his "Presidents of the United States, 17S9-1902." 1902. 
Pp. 246-261. 

Wilson, (Gen.) James Grant. Traits of Mr. Fillmore. See The 
Home Journal, June, 1874. 

Woodward, Ashbel (M. D., of Franklin, Conn.) Memoir of Captain 
John Fillmore, with a genealogy of the Fillmore family. See 
New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. xi, Bos- 
ton, 1857. 

;< - . • 





« , 

n ' 

y J 



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u z i 






At a meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society. March n, i 
the Hon. James O. Putnam, rising to second the resolution \ hich 
had been presented, spoke as follows : 

Mr. President: Plow much of the renown and glory of cur 
city have departed within the past week. Our two most illustrious 
citizens, eminent alike in private virtues and distinguished public 
services, have in quick succession been summoned away, ll 
a single week that we were startled by the intellij net that the pure. 
the incorruptible, the great-hearted Hall was cut down in the n 
of his usefulness and honor. 1 Today we stand, as it were, by the 
grave of his first friend, whose public career was crowned with the 
highest honors of the republic, and whose private I >mcd 

and fruited with every gentle humanity, with every charm of friend- 
ship, and every social grace. No, sir, I do wrong in saying tint the 
renown and glory reflected from his citizenship have departed. The 
sun of a great character never sets. The beauty and lustre of their 
lives will be a lasting inspiration. 

I know the loss we are called upon to mourn I national. 

] know il:,.. the character and fame of Mr. Fillmore belong i- 
country and to mankind. But there is a peculiar sense in wun 
loss is ours. He was our neighbor and friend. He had aided in 
forming nearly all our institutions of art, charity and. educatii n, and 
he gave the weight of his great name and character to ever;, 
enterprise which sought to promote our social intere ts. 
upon himself every burden imposed for the public , I his 

hand and hi^ voice, his heart and his pu^e were ever at the service 
of his fellow-citizens. Then he was a part of our daily per; 

i. Hon. Nathan K. Hall died March 2, 1S74. 

46s A + 


life. In the street, at his own hospitable home, in all our h 
he was ever ana always the same courtei is nan -the ■ 

appreciative friend, the kind neighbor, seeking 
tentatious offices to make others happy. Wherever h 
created an atmosphere of kindliness and cheer— mo t felt and 
appreciated by those who stood most in need of social 
His personal relation to Buffalo he always recogniz< 
with interest and affection. 

But we may be permitted here to dwell for a moment on the 
broader side of the life of Mr. Fillmore. He rose to the foremost 
rank of American statesmen, and his life and charactei in his public 
career have become a part of the permanent history of his ci 
and his time. What was the secret of that marvelous success which 
took the modest apprentice, with little advantage of early education 
by rapid steps from the legislative hall of his own State to the 
Presidential office? It was not by genius, it was not by the skillful 
combination of force through political necromancy, and, least of all 
it was not by the low arts of that lowest of all charactei 
crawls to high places— the arts of the demagogue— that he was borne 
to this dazzling elevation. What then was the secret of this success 
so rapid and so brilliant? It may be expressed in these three \ 
adequacy, fidelity, opportunity. He never entered upon an office 
that he^did not at once rise to its plane and demonstrate his ability 
to fill it. His character challenged public confidence, and won it 
from his very entrance upon the race. He daz/.lcd nobody by his 
brilliancy, but he set himself at hard work in the legislature of his 
own State and in Congress, and, leaving to whoever sought it, the 
reputation of genius, he won the solid fame which follows honest 
work wrought out into beneficent legislation and public policy. 

As an illustration of this, take his labors as chairman of the 
committee of Ways and Means in Congress in 1842. A new Admin- 
istration came into power upon the issue of a revision of the revenue 
policy. A revision of the tariff was a great measure to the then 
dominant Whig party, and to the enormous derails attending it Mr. 
Fillmore addressed himself with characteristic patience and industry. 
He devoted months to its study. He mastered it in all its details, 
and the whole complex system became to him as his ABC. He- 
was upon the floor of Congress during the long debate for the 
measure what Sir Robert Peel, to whom he bears a strong resem- 
blance in character, was in the House of Commons in a similar dis- 
cussion — master of the situation. The most insignificant item of 
our commerce and all its relations to our industry, he underst 
as a master. No skill in debate could disconcert him. He was 
always ready, always master of the facts, and as such he carried 
through both his measures and himself. He came out of that 
Congress with a national reputation as a practical, honest, adequate 

As such his own State accepted him, and made haste to crown 
him with the highest proofs of her confidence and esteem. He 
barely failed of an election by his party as Governor, having for 
his opponent by far the ablest and most popular man of the oppo- 
sition — a man like Mr. Fillmore in many of his characteristics — a 
man whom New York will long cherish as one of her noblest, purest, 


Lu ; -i of sons— -Silas Wright. He was elected comptroller ■ 
qucntly, an office hardly to his taste, yd on w\ 
charged with great ability. 

And from this office he is transferred to the broader sphere of 
national politics. His nomination as Vice-President v ly the 

recognition of his prominence already won, both in his 
and at Washington. The death of his lamented co' ; 
Taylor, imposed upon him as the executive of the nation, 
the highest responsibilities of the Government. And here we 
upon the ground where the ashes of a fire intensified by every ele- 
ment of human interest, ambition, sentiment and pa 
warm, if not of burning heat. That struggle and its inci 
surroundings and its master leaderships, who that witnes 
ever forget? It was the battle of the giants, almost the 
conflict of the political leaders of the first half of entury, 

Webster, Clay, Calhoun. Douglas, Chase, Seward, and oil. 
fame, leading the conflict with all the fire of genius and all the 
enthusiasm of conviction. Can we have any doubt that the moral 
providence which governs the world, overruled that strife for the 
best — best for the country — best for the ultimate trim prin- 

ciples of human freedom? It is to be remembered that Mr. Fil 
came to the administration of the Government in the tran 
period of public sentiment and interest on the slavery qu Mr. 

Fillmore called about him some of the wisest statesmanship of the 
land — and when the law-making branch of the Government presented 
him a scheme for the final settlement of the disturbing questions of 
the hour, he had but to satisfy himself they violated n .'.:onal 

principle, and to give it his executive sanction. Mr. Fillmore re- 
garded the compromise measures a finality and pledge that every' 
advantage which had been given to freedom and to free territory by 
the settlement of 1821, should remain forever intact. But this, sir, is 
for history, and to her calm judgment I would leave every act and 
every actor in that great drama. 

Mr. Fillmore's administration was an eminently conservative one, 
as was his character. Let me give a single illustration. The bril- 
liant Kossuth, before he lauded upon our shores the guest of the 
nation, had kindled an enthusiasm in the hearts of the pi »ple almost 
wild with very passion. His advent to the country was the beginning 
of an ovation until his departure, which has no parallel in our his- 
tory. Fascinating everybody by the charm of his genius and 
magic spell of his eloquence, he had one single purpose, whi h for a 
moment he never lost sight i f, and which I 1 pre ■ ' 
lar attention every day and almost every hour oi his stay, i 
to induce our Government and people to interfere in the dispute 
between Hungary and Austria. In short, to intervene b< ween the 
contestants and "so secure to Hungary its independence 
was feted everywhere, and almost everybody seemed to lose their 
senses when under this wonderful magnetic force ' 
patriotism. After the dinner given in his honor at Washington, at 
which both Mr. Webster and Mr. Seward crowned him with the 
richest garlands of their own genius, he presented himself to the 
President and formally made known his wants and almost demanded 
the interference which had been the text of all his appeals to the 


country. This was wholly unexpected by Mr. Fillmore; but lie was 
not thrown off his poise, and in n few c ! bin dirpcl and f. 

words, slated to the patriot and enthusiast, that our G 
adheres to the principles laid down by Washington, that it wi uid 
form no entangling alliances with foreign power-, and there could 
be no departure from that policy. From that hour, Kossuth's i 
sion as a propagandist of his wild opinions was a failure, and the 
country was brought back to its "pauser reason." 

I have said Mr. Fillmore was a conservative statesman. I recog- 
nize the value at tunes of less cautious statesmanship. 1 know no 
other remedy for deep-seated abuses in Church or State but that 
force in society we call radicalism. But 1 know that without its 
complement, conservatism, it is like Phaeton driving the coursers 
of the sun, marking his track with desolation and ruin. Mr. hill- 
more, like his friend and his chosen colleague in the Government, 
Mr. Webster, was in sympathy with every humane sentiment, but 
he looked upon our government as a delicate and complicated organi- 
zation, full of checks and balances and constitutional restraints, and 
it was not his nature to hazard any uncertain experiments, or for 
slight causes to make any departure from the track laid down by 
the fathers of the Constitution. He stood by the ancient ways. 

Mr. Fillmore's name was the synonym of integrity and honor, 
and the story of his rise from the humblest beginning to the heights 
of human distinction, like that of Lincoln, will be an inspiration to 
American youth for ages to come. His unpurchased, unsullied 
career under our republican institutions, is a patent of nobility more 
lasting and more noble than was ever bestowed by the hands of 
anointed kings. 

It is fitting that as a society we honor his memory. He was its 
early friend, was present at its birth, watched with interest all its 
career, enriched its archives, and by his large intelligence and quick 
sympathies imparted a fresh interest to almost its every meeting 
down to his last illness. 

It is but about four weeks since, after the reading of a very 
interesting paper upon Japan by Mr. Shepard, he gave us an account 
of the first movement made to open that country to the commercial 
intercourse of Western Europe and America. It is to the honor 
of his Administration, that the policy was inaugurated which broke 
down Japan's walls of exclusion, and prepared her for the great 
advance she has made towards a higher civilization and renovated 

But I have trespassed too long already, and I second the resolu- 
tions offered. 



JANUARY 7, 1 8/8 

By General James Grant Wilson. 1 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Buffalo His- 
torical Society: It is with unfeigned diffidence that 1 appear in 
this place and in this presence to address you on a subject v/ith 
which many here present must necessarily be more conversant than 
I can by any possibility be, and yet when I was honored by your 
society with an invitation to prepare a paper on its first president, 
and one of the chief magistrates of our common country, ] felt that 
it was a call that I could not decline, an opportunity that I could 
not omit, of publicly expressing my admiration for the many noble 
qualities of Buffalo's most distinguished citizen. 

I am not here this evening to exaggerate his virtues or to 
extenuate his faults, ''Paint me as I am, warts and all," said Eng- 
land's Cromwell; and. "Speak of me just as I was," would be to 
me the mandate of Millard Fillmore, could he revisit the earth and 
enter yonder door. Begging your gracious attention during the 
brief moments of a single hour, I shall without further preface pro- 
ceed with my paper, in which I have attempted to tell the truthful 
story of his life. 

Seventy-eight years ago this very day a child was born in a 
simple log cabin at a spot now called Summerhill, within the borders 
of Cayuga county, in the State of New York. The cabin stood alone, 
in what was then a wilderness, and was so rude and so rough that 
we might almost say of this child of humble origin, as was said by 
the proud Pope of the sixteenth century, that he was born of an 
illustrious house, for it was a house without a roof. The nearest 
human habitation was four miles away, and when the sturdy and 
stalwart young father returned to announce the speedy arrival of 
the physician, whose residence was seven miles distant, he found 
the young mother looking down lovingly on their new born son, 
sleeping sweetly by her bedside in a sap trough, for lack of a better 
cradle. This child of the people, in later life proud of his birth, 
could say what Carlyle, the great "censor of the age," remarks of 
Burns and Diderot, two other plebeians, like himself. ''How many 
kings, how many princes are there, not so well born!" 

Permit me to attempt another picture. Five and fifty years have 
passed away, and there enters in a private parlor of a highly fashion- 
able London hotel a gentleman of loft} ai d mosl imp >si • \ presence, 
who has just returned from dining with the Queen at Buckingham 
Palace. He is dressed in complete court costume— cocked hat, 
sword, knee breeches, silk stockings and silver-buckled shoe.- — all 
which set off his fine face and figure to the greatest advantage. 
Taking a passing survey of himself in the large mirror, as he 
advances and lays aside his sword and chapeau, he says, with a 

i. Originally prepared by Gen. Wilson at the request of Mrs. Fillmore, the 
author having been 3n intimate friend of Mr. Fillmore. Revised by the author 
for present publication. 


merry laugh to the two friends who await his return. "Well, g< i 

men, I never expected to come to this." Prince Albert and s< 

dukes and belted earls were present | 

any one of them could be compared to the n 

American arrayed in court paraphernalia, which was sin. 

coming to him. I thought then, as J think now, that 1 never saw a 

nobler looking man save the godlike Webster. 

Could greater extremes of circumstance and condition b 
ceived? The infant sou of the Cayuga count v pioneer asleep in the 
sap-trough cradle; and the guest of the Queen of England, i 
ing from Buckingham Palace are, need I add. two episi les in the 
life of one of nature's noblemen in honor of whose memory we arc- 
now assembled— a "Model President," who was as pure and spot- 
less in private life as he was firm, patriotic and statesmanlike in his 
public career; in short, a man who is an admirable example to the 
rising and all future generations of his young countrymen. 

The name of Fillmore is of English origin and at different 
periods his been variously written. The first of the family to a] 
in the new world was a certain John Fillmore, who in a conv< 
of land dated Nov. 24. 1704, is described as a "mariner" of Ipswich, 
Mass. His eldest son of the same name, born two years before the 
purchase of the two acres in Beverly, also became a seafaring man 
and while on a voyage in the sloop Dolphin of Cape Ann, sh< 
captured with all on board by the notorious pirate, Captain John 

For nearly nine months Fillmore and his three companions in 
captivity were compelled to serve on board the pirate ship, and to 
submit during that long period to many hardships and much cruel 
treatment. After waiting and watching for an opportunity to strike 
a blow for freedom, their hour at length came, while Fillmore, with 
such a blow as Richard the Lion-Hearted might have struck, sent 
an ax crashing through the skull of Burrall, the pirate boatswain, 
burying its blade deep down in his body; the captain and other 
officers were successfully dispatched by his companions, and the 
ship was won! The heroes sailed her into Boston harbor, and the 
same court which condemned the brigands of the sea, pres 
John Fillmore with the captain's silver-hilted sword and other 
articles, which are preserved to this day by his descendants. The 
sword was very properly inherited by his son Nathaniel, who made 
good use of it in both the French and Revolutionary wars. In the 
former he was wounded and left behind in the woods, subsis 
for more than a week on a few kernels of corn, and upon his - 
and a part of his blanket, which family tradition records that h ■ 
roasted and ate. In the war of the Revolution this same Lieut. 
Fillmore fought gallantly at Bennington, under that stout old soldier, 
of whom Halleck sings : 

When or. that field his band the Hessians fought, 

Briefly he spoke before the fight began: 
"Soldiers! those German gentlemen are bought 

For four pounds eight and seven-pence per man, 
By England's King; a bargain, it is thought. 

Are we worth more? Let's prove it, now we can; 
For we must beat them, boys, ere set of sun, 
Or Mary Stark's a widow." It was done. 



Lieut. Fillmore's second son, who also bore the name Nathaniel, 
and who was the father of the President, went with his young wife 
to what; at the dose of the eighteenth century, was the "Far West," 
where he and a younger brother built a log cabin in the wilderness, 
and there his second son Millard, was born Jan. ;, 1800. Nathaniel 
Fillmore was one of ''God Almighty's gentlemen," whose condensed 
creed was contained in two words, "do right," and who lived to sec 
his illustrious son elevated to a position than which there is none 
loftier on earth. Of the President's mother, who died in 183 1, we 
know little beyond the fact that she was a sensible, and in her latter 
years, a sickly woman: with a sunny nature that enabled her to 
endure uncomplainingly the many hardships of a frontier life, and 
that her closing days were gladdened by the frequent visits of her 
second son. who was then in public life, with every prospect of a 
successful professional and political career. 

From a brief autobiography prepared by "Worthy Mr. Fillmore," 
as Washington Irving described him, and deposited in your archives, 
and for a copy of which I am indebted to the courtesy of your 
president, we learn that owing to a defective title his father lost his 
properly on what was known as the "Military Tract," and removed 
to another part of the same county, now known as Niles, where he 
took a perpetual lease of 130 acres, wholly unimproved and covered 
with heavy timber. It was here that the future President first knew 
anything of life. Working for nine months on the farm and attend- 
ing such primitive schools as then existed in that neighborhood for 
the other three months of the year, he had an opportunity of forget- 
ting during the summer what he acquired in the winter, for be it 
remembered in those days there were no newspapers and magazines 
as at present to be found in pioneers' cabins, and his father's library 
consisted of two books — the Bible and a hymn book! Fie never saw 
a copy of Shakespeare, or Robinson Crusoe, a history of the United 
States or even a map of his own country till he was nineteen years 
of age ! 

Nathaniel Fillmore's misfortunes in losing his land through a 
defective title, and again in taking another tract of exceedingly poor 
soil, gave him a distaste for farming and made him desirous that 
his sons should follow other occupations. As his means did not 
justify him or them in aspiring to any profession he wdshed them 
to learn trades, and accordingly Millard, then a sturdy and stalwart 
youth of fourteen, was apprenticed for a few months on trial to the 
business of carding wool and dressing cloth. During his appren- 
ticeship he was, as the youngest, treated with great injustice, and 
on one occasion his employer, for some expression of righteous 
resentment threatened to chastise him, when the young woodsman, 
burning with indignation, raised the ax with which he was at work, 
and told him the attempt would cost him his life. Most fortunately 
for both the attempt was not made, and at the close of his term he 
shouldered his knapsack containing his few clothes, a supply of 
bread and dried venison, and set out on foot and alone for his 
father's, a distance of something more than a hundred miles, and 
mostly through woods infested with wolves. 

Mr. Fillmore, in his autobiography, remarks: "I think that this 
injustice — which was no more than other apprentices have suffered 


and will suffer— had a marked effect on nr, chara ter, [f i '■ 
feel for the weak and unprotected, and to hate the insolent t 
in every station of life." 

In 1815 he again began the business of carding and cloth dressi 
which was carried on from June to December o\ each > 
first book that he purchased or owned was a small Engli h dic- 
tionary, which he diligently studied while attending the carding 
machine. In 1819 he conceived the design of becoming a lawyer, a 
person described by Lord Brougham as "a learned gentleman, 
rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it himself," and 
Sidney Smith, you may remember, was equally complimentary, when 
he said that the only thing in this world that he could compare to 
the shriek of a locomotive was "the yell of a lawyer, when the devil 
got him!" Young Fillmore, who had yet two years of his appren- 
ticeship to serve, agreed with his employers to relinquish his \ 
for the last year's services, and promised to pay thirty dollars £01 
his time. Making an arrangement with a retired country lawyer by 
which he was to receive his board in payment for his services in the 
office, he began the study of the law, a part of the time teaching 
school, and so struggling on, overcoming almost insurmountable 
difficulties, till at length, in the spring of 1823, he was, at the inter- 
cession of several leading members of the Buffalo bar, whose con- 
fidence he had won, admitted as an attorney by the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas of Erie County, although he had not completed the course 
of study usually required. I have this day seen the dilapidated one- 
story building, now removed from its original site on Main street, 
near Cold Spring, where Mr. Fillmore closed his career as a school- 
master, and have also conversed this afternoon with one of his tew 
surviving pupils 1 of fifty-five years ago, who -is with, us here this 
evening. The ex-President commenced practice at Aurora, where 
his father then resided, and fortunately won his first suit and a fee 
of four dollars. In 1827 he was admitted as an attorney, and two 
years later as counselor of the Supreme Court of the State. In 1830 
he removed to Buffalo, and after a brief period formed a partner- 
ship with Nathan K. Hall, to which Solomon G. Haven was soon 
after admitted. 

By hard study and the closest application to business, combined 
with honesty and fidelity, Mr. Fillmore soon became a sound and 
successful lawyer, attaining a highly honorable position in the pro- 
fession. The "law firm of Fillmore. Hall 8c Haven, which continued 
till 1847, was perhaps the most prominent in Western New York, 
and was usually engaged in every important case occurring in that 
portion of the State. In 185;,. while still in Washington, Mr. Fill- 
more made an arrangement with Henry F. Davies to renew, < >n 
retiring from the Presidency, the practice of his profession in New 
York, in partnership with that gentleman, who was a lawyer in 
Buffalo half a century ago. and who. after occupying a judge's seat 
in the Court of Appeals, returned to the bar, where he continues to 
this day. Family afflictions, however, combined with other causes, 
induced the ex-President to abandon his purpose. There were doubt- 
less at that time men of greater genius and greater eloquence at the 

1. William Hodge of Buffalo, died Apr. 24, 1S86. 


bar of the great city, but we cannot doubt that Mr. Fillmore's solid 
legal learning, and the weight of his personal character, world have 
won for him the highest professional honors in his new sphere of 


Mr. Fillmore's political career began and ended with the birth 
and extinction of the great historical Whig party. In [828 he was 
elected representative from Erie county to the State Legislature, 
serving for three terms and retiring with a reputation for ability, 
integrity and a conscientious performance of his public duties, lie 
particularly distinguished himself by his advocacy of the act to 
abolish imprisonment for debt, which was passed in 1831. The 
bill was drafted by Mr. Fillmore, excepting the portions relative to 
proceedings in courts of record, which were drawn by John C. 
Spencer. In 1832 he was elected to Congress, and after serving for 
one term, retired till 1S36 when he was reelected and again returned 
in 1S38 and 1840, declining a renomination in 1842. 

I cannot dwell on Mr. Fillmore's congressional career further 
than to say that he faithfully and ably discharged his duties as a 
representative of the people, that he was never absent from his seat 
from which, when he rose to speak, he never failed to receive 
respectful attention. "He was a strong speaker, sir," says one who 
sat in the House with him at that time. As chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Ways and Means, a committee performing at that period 
not only the duties now devolving upon it but tho^e also which 
belong to the Committee on Appropriations, he has not since had his 
equal, is a statement made by the same authority. Although Mr. 
Fillmore did not claim to have discovered any original system of 
revenue, still the tariff of 1842 was a new creation, and he is most 
justly entitled to the distinction of being its author. At the same 
time, with great labor, he prepared a digest of the laws, authorizing 
all appropriations reported by him to the House, as chairman of the 
Committee on Ways and Means, so that on the instant he could 
produce the legal authority for any expenditure^ which he recom- 
mended. Sensible that this was a great safeguard against improper 
expenditures, he procured the passage of a resolution requiring the 
departments, when they submitted estimates of expenses, to accom- 
pany them with a reference to the laws authorizing them in each 
and every instance. This has ever since been the practice of the 
Government. , 

Mr. Fillmore retired from Congress in 1S43. and was a candidate 
for the office of Vice-President, supported by his e\<:i\ and several 
of the Western States, in the Whig national convention, which met 
at Baltimore in May, 1844. lit the following September he ^was 
nominated by acclamation for Governor, but was defeated by Silas 
Wright, his illustrious contemporary Henry Clay being vanquished 
at the same time in the Presidential contest, by James K.^Po!k ; In 
1847 Fillmore was elected Comptroller of the State or New York, 
an office which then included in its sphere many duties now dis- 
tributed among various other departments. In his report of January, 
1849. he suggested that a national bank, with the stocks of the 
United States as the sole basis upon which to issue its currency, 
might be established and carried on, so as to prove a great conveni- 
ence to the Government, with perfect safety to the people. This 


idea involves the essential principle of our presenl sj 
national banks. 

And here I may relate, before passing on to the most in 
period of his political career, a little incidenl vvhicl 
Albany, while he was Comptroller, as illustrative of his ui 
courtesy and kindness of heart. A party o^ school boys \. 
ing a game of ball in the State-house grounds and 
glass, were not long in driving the ball through a large windi 
the office of the Secretary of State. Mr. Fillmore was. as it 
ward appeared, in conversation with the Secretary, and the intru 
ball fell at his feet. The boys, who were too bi to rim away, when 
they heard the ball crashing through the large glass, alth 
felt like criminals, for lack of knowing what else to do. • 
another ball, and went on with their game. Suddenly the'wes; 
of the State-hall opened, and a tall gentleman with' a smi 
presented himself before them, bearing in his hand the unluck) 
Foretastes of Dr. Beck's rider and rattan were fell by the culprits, 
as they looked with awe at the high government official. Holding 
to the circumstantial evidence of the mischief they had wr< 
Slowly descending the marble steps, he approached." and said. ; 
gently tossed the ball back. "Boys, I wish you would try and knock 
your ball in some other direction." That was all. and with a c< 
bow he retraced his steps, and disappeared, leaving behind a number 
of lads charmed with his courtesy and charily, one of whom, after a 
quarter of a century had passed away, related the incident in Mr. 
Fillmore's career as an illustration of the truth that — 

"He bore without reproach 
The grand old name of gentleman." 

Another admirer tells us that with a past generation of citizens 
of the western portion of New York Mr. Fillmore commanded a 
degree of admiration and respect which has fallen to the lot of few, 
if any other private or public persons of this State. 

In June, 1848. Millard Fillmore was nominated by the Whig 
National Convention for Vice-President, with General Taylor, who 
had recently won military renown in Mexico, as President, and was 
elected in the following November, making, with the present occu- 
pant of the office, six Vice-Presidents of the United States from 
New York, a greater number than has been furnished by any other 
State of the Union. In February, iS-'Q. Fillmore resigned the Comp- 
trollership, and on the fifth of the following month he was inau- 
gurated as Vice-President. In T026 Calhoun of South Carolina, 
then Vice-President, had established the rule that that oilicer had 
no authority to call Senators to order. During the heated con r 1 
versies in the sessions of 1849-50, occasioned by the application of 
California for admission into the Union, the vexed question of 
slavery in the new territories, and that of the rendition of fugitive 
slaves, in which the most acrimonious language was used, Mr. loll- 
more, in a forcible speech to the Senate, announced his determina- 
tion to maintain order, and that, should occasion require, he should 
reverse the usage of his predecessors on that point. This announce- 
ment met with the unanimous approval of the Senate, which directed 
the Vice-President's remarks to be entered in full on its journal. 


He presided during the exciting controversy on Clay's "omnibus 
bill," with his usual impartiality, and so perfectly even did he hold 
the scales that no one knew which policy he approved excepting the 
President, to whom he privately and confidentially stated, tl 

should he be required to deposit a casting vote it would be in 'favor 
of Henry Clay's bill. More than seven months of the session had 
been exhausted in angry controversy, when on July 0. 1850 the 
country was startled by the news of General Taylor's death. ' He 
died in the second year of his Presidency, suddenly and unexpect- 
edly, of violent fever brought on by long exposure to the burning 
heat of a Fourth of July sun, while attending the public ceremonies 
of the day. 

It was a critical moment in the history of our country when 
aMillard Fillmore was, on Wednesday, July io, 1S50, made President 
of the United States. With great propriety he reduced the ceremony 
of his inauguration to an official act to be marked by solemnity 
without joy; and so with an absence of the usual heralding of 
trumpet and shawn he was unostentatiously sworn into his great 
office inthe Hall of Representatives in the presence of both Houses. 
The Chief Justice of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, 
the venerable William Cranch, appointed fifty years before by Presi- 
dent. John Adams, administered f hc oath, which being done, the new 
President bowed and retired and the ceremony was at an end. 

Mr. Fillmore was then in the prime of life, possessing that which 
to the heathen philosopher seemed the greatest good — a sound mind 
in a sound body. He was the youngest of our Presidents with the 
exception of Polk, Pierce and Grant, 1 and as the late Horace Binney 2 
in 1875 said to your speaker, the handsomest man who ever held that 
high office, and he had seen and known them all. Of the keen appre- 
ciation of the awful responsibility devolving upon him we have the 
evidence of letters written at the time, in which he says he should 
despair but for his humble reliance on Almighty God to help him 
in the honest, fearless and faithful discharge of his. great duties. 

General Taylor's Cabinet immediately resigned and a new and 
exceedingly able one was selected by Fillmore, with Daniel Webster 
as Secretary of State: Thomas Corwin. Secretary of the Treasury; 
Alexander H. PI. Stuart, Secretary of the Interior; Charles M. 
Conrad, Secretary of War; William A. Graham, Secretary of the 
Navy; John J. Crittenden. Attorney-General, and Nathan K. Hall, 
Postmaster-General. Of these Mr. Webster died, and Messrs. 
Graham and Hall retired in 1852. and were respectively replaced by 
Edward Everett. John P. Kennedy and Samuel D. Hubbard of Con- 
necticut. Conrad of Louisiana and Stuart of Virginia are the sole 
survivors of the illustrious men who aided Mr. Fillmore in guidi 
the ship of state during the most appalling political tempest save 
one which ever visited this fair land. 

x. Nov.- also with the exception of Roosevelt, who became President at 

2. Horace Binney (1780-1875). leader of the Philadelphia bar, and among 
the foremost lawyers of the land, was acquainted with all our Presidents from 
Washington to Grant, during whose second administration he died at the great 
age of ninety- five years and seven months. 


return of fugitive slaves to their owners was not a matter for the Federal 
Government to meddle with, but a matter for th< States to arranf 
themselves. lie, however, soon after came over to \ u .-\ support of the Fugitive 
Slave bill, and Mr. Ritchie, editor of the Ur.ion newspuj i | 
Washington, declared in its columns that there v. as no reward 
gratefui country to bestow upon the man who hail come forward sc n ; 
nartimously in favor of that important measure. 

While General Taylor lived there was no chance for the enactment of the 
^Fugitive Slave Law. He set his face firmly against it and directed a 
'it the influence of his Administration. Mr. Clay, who brought it forw ird with 
two or three kindred projects, had become discouraged and spoke of h 
couragement. In the midst of the discussion on this measure. General I. 
who had thought to settle the dispute respecting the migration of the .-live- 
holders to the territories taking with them their slaves by admittin 
territories at once as States of the Union, died, and with him th 
tion to the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law was removed. It was naturally 
to be expected that Mr. Fillmore should be governed by the wishes of such 
eminent leaders of the party as Clay and Webster, and accordingly the influ- 
ence of the Federal Administration was used in its favor; the bill rei 
the votes of a majority in each House of Congress and was duly approved by 
the acting President. 

I write from memory without consulting any record of the time to which 
I refer, but I believe that I am literally exact, for the events of that time made 
a strong impression upon me. 

The next note is from the son and grandson of Presidents of the 
United States, Charles Francis Adams, who says: 

I should be very glad to give you all the information in my power touching 
the historic;! point you made, were I at what you are pleased to call my "his- 
toric" ecu-try house. In my library tu<:re are deposited the records of my 
own impressions of Mr. Fillmore's polic\ r , both in my d^.ry and letter books. 
So much time has passed since that without the aid of those papers I remem- 
ber little. I always thought that Mr. Fillmore was unfortunate in having Mr. 
Webster saddled upon him, which I know he ' did not desire at the outset. 
After that he had little power to deal with Fugitive Slave Law, as he- should 
have done. He looked to me like Sinbad and the Old Man of the Sea, and 
I have not now the smallest pity for his fate. 

In regard to personal relations with him, I can only say that when my 
father was living at Quincy, and I was occupying a house that ] built myself 
on the hills in front, to my surprise on my return from Boston at the usual 
hour, Mrs. Adams greeted me with the news that Mr. Fillmore was in the 
house by reason of his mistaking it for my father's. She had received him 
close upon dinner time, so she asked him to stop and take his chance, at the 
same time promising to send down to my father to join him. The 
was, a very informal and sprightly conversation which lasted until his hour to 
return to town. I bid him good-bye, and I doubt whether I ever met with 
him again, I like to remember him thus rather than when overloaded with 
care. He was then Vice-President." 

Charles O'Conor, the renowned lawyer, writes: 

You refer to a mere point in the history of negro slavery, and of the 
struggle for its abolition. You refer to it properly enough as a personal ques- 
tion, for you design to speak of it in a_ personal aspect, t. c, to bring under 
consideration whether an individual holding hi :'. offii t< d wisi ly or not, as 

a politician, in his method of performing a particular official duty. 

I have never looked into this point in this way, and could not easily state 
an opinion on it which would be satisfactory to myself or useful to yen. 

On the great question itself my opinion in general and in all its details 
has always been, and still is, precisely the reverse of that which is t! c adopted 
sentiment of the country. Though I cannot state reasons, the v. hole tlnng 
having passed out of my mind, I must presume that if cuiisuhed I would have 
advised an approval of the bill. 

The fourth and last communication on this subject which I shall 
have the pleasure of reading is from an illustrious statesman, who 
dined with his friend, the President, on the very day on which he 


signed the Fugitive Slave Law, and who heard all about that 
lure before the ink was dry. ] refer to Robert C. Winthrop i 
successor of Webster in the United States Senate. Mr Wintl 
writes : 

Your favor of the :8th inst asking for my testimony in regard to tl • 
relations of the late President Fillmore to the Fugitive Slave Law, was dull 
received. * 

It would afford me sincere pleasure to aid you in paying a just tribute to 
so worthy a man. But you must excuse me from entering, as vou propose into 
any discussion of the probable consequences of his having acted oth< 
as he did act. 

When the Fugitive Slave Bill passed the United E Senate, on the 2 -»d 

of August, 1850, I was one of twelve Senators only who voted against it I 
have never changed my opinion in regard to that bill, nor ever ceased to ■ 
that Congress should have sanctioned it in the shape in which it went u 
the statute book. Even Mr. Webster, to whom vou refer, wrote to the L'nion 
Committee of New ^ ork, long after the bill had become a law, that it \\as "not 
such a measure as he had prepared before he left the Senate, and which oi 
course he should have supported if he had remained in the Senate." 

But it is one thing to vote against a bill as a Sen (tor or Representative in 
Congress and a very different thing to veto it as President. 

u Ir ' F . iilmore vvas a member of that grand old Whig party, some of whom 
had been in favor of abolishing the veto power altogether, and almost all of 
whom had maintained the doctrine that the veto should he used only in 1 
of manifest violation of the Constitution. I was in the \ 
at the time that before signing the bill he submitted it to the Attorney-G< 
of the United States for his opinion on this point, and that he took counsel of 
his Cabinet. The opinion of the Attorney-General was, I believe, published a: 
the time and the views of the Cabinet were well understood by everybody at 

I have never for a moment doubted that the Fugitive Slave Law was 
signed by President Fillmore under the same conscientious convictions of duty 
which actuated and controlled him in his whole executive career. The assaults 
made upon him at the moment have always seemed to me unreasonable and 

Mr. Fillmore's Administration being in a political minority in 
both houses of Congress, many wise and admirable measures recom- 
mended by him failed to be adopted, nevertheless we are indebted 
to him for cheap postage; for the noble extension of the National 
Capitol, the cornerstone of which he laid July 4th, 1851 ; for the 
Perry treaty, opening the ports of Japan; and for various valuable 
exploring expeditions. When South Carolina in one of her indig- 
nant utterances took Mr. Fillmore to task for sending a fleet to 
Charleston harbor, and as he was officially questioned as to his 
object and authority, the answer came promptly and to the purpose: 
"By authority of the Constitution of the United Slates, winch has 
made the President Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy." 
With stern measures lie repressed filibustering, and with equal firm 
ness exacted from other nations respect for our flag. Mr. Fillmore 
carried out strictly the doctrine of non-intervention in the affairs 
of foreign countries and frankly stated his policy to the highly- 
gifted Hungarian, who won all hearts by his surpassing eloquence. 
At the same time, however, it was clearly shown how little the 
Administration sympathized with Austria by the celebrated letter 
to Hulsemann by the Secretary of State. Daniel Webster, who died 
soon after. He was, as you will remember, succeeded by Edward 
Everett, whose brief term of office was distinguished by his letter 
declining the proposition for a treaty by which England, France and 
the United States were to disclaim then and for the future all inten- 


tion to obtain possession of Cuba. In bis last mes age, however, 
the President expressed an opinion against the incorporation of the 
Spanish island with this Union. 

Nothing in Mr. Fillmore's Presidential career was, during fche 
later years of his life, regarded by himself with greater satisfaction 
than the suppressed portion of his last Message to Congress of 
December the 6th, 1S52. Why it was suppressed I am unable at 
present to state, but presume it was by the advice of his Cabinet. 
It related to the great political problem of the time—the balance 
of power between the free and slave States. He fully and cl 
appreciated the magnitude of the then approaching crisis, and in the 
document now _ under consideration proposed a most judicious 
scheme of rescuing the Union from the horrors of civil war, which 
soon after desolated so large a portion of our country. As the 
chorus to "Henry the Fifth" very sensibly remarks, "Time, numbers 
and due course of things cannot be here presented," and I can but 
briefly state that his wise and perfectly practical plan was one of 
African colonization, somewhat similar to one seriously entertained 
by his successor, Mr. Lincoln. Had President Fillmore's plan been 
adopted it is reasonably certain that it would have been successful, 
and that our country might have been blessed with plenteous peace 
and prosperity in lieu of the late war with its loss of half a million 
of precious lives, and a debt of more than double the amount of the 
cost of his scheme of colonization. 

Mr. Fillmore retired from the Presidency March 4th, 1853, leav- 
ing the country at peace with other lands, and within her own bor- 
ders, and in the enjoyment of a high degree of prosperity in all the 
various departments of industry. In his Cabinet there had never 
been a dissenting voice in regard to any important measure of his 
administration, and upon his retiring from his great office a letter 
was addressed to him by all its members expressing their united 
appreciation of his ability, his integrity and his sincere devotion to 
the public service. 1 

His gifted contemporary, Henry Clay, thought highly of Mr. 
Fillmore's wisdom and moderation, said his Administration was an 
able and honorable one, and on his death-bed recommended his 
nomination for the Presidency (by the Baltimore convention of 
1852) as being a statesman of large civil experience, and one in 
whose successful career there ' was nothing inconsistent with the 
highest purity and patriotism. After leaving Washington for the 
last time, Mr. Webster said to a friend that Fillmore's administra- 
tion — leaving entirely out of the question his share in its work— was 
the ablest the country had possessed for many years. The same 
great statesman in his speech at the laying of the cornerstone of 
the extension to the Capitol, Washington, said: "President Fill- 
more, it is your singularly good fortune to perform an act such as 
that which "the earliest of your predecessors performed fifty-eight 
years ago. You stand where he stood; you lay your hand on the 
cornerstone of a building designed greatly to extend that whose 

1. No trace of this letter has been found by the editor. The supposition 
if. that it was destroyed with other papers which passed to the possession of 
Millard Powers Fillmore. 


cornerstone he laid. Changed, changed, is evcryth • ■ | The 

same sun, indeed, shone upon his head which no\ 

The same broad river rolled ar iiis feet and i 

resting place, which now rolls at yours. But the sue of tl 

was then mainly an open field. Streets and avenues ha^ 

laid out and completed, squares and public ground i 

ornamented, until the city which bears his name, altl 

tsvely inconsiderable in numbers and wealth, i. 

to be the seat of government of a great and united people. Sii 

the consequences of the duty which you perform so au 

today equal those which flowed from his act. Nor tl 

the^principles of your Administration and the wisdom of your 

tical conduct be such as that the world of the present day ai 

history hereafter may be at no loss to perceive what examph 

made your study." 

Mr. Fillmore, I should state as a part of his public record, was 
a candidate for nomination as President at the Whig conventi 
1852; but though his policy, the Fugitive Slave Law includ 
approved by a vote of 227 against 60, he could not commai 
votes from the free States. Four years later, while at 1 '. : 
received the news of his nomination as a candidate f ir the i 1 
dency by the American party. Fie accepted the nomination. l 1 
before the close of the campaign it became evident that the real 
struggle was between the Republicans and Demoi ra - \ ery 1 
of those with whom Fillmore was the first choice for Presid 
their votes for James Buchanan or General Fremont, believing tl I 
there was no hope of his election, and though he received the sup- 
port of large numbers in all the States, Maryland alone gave him 
its electoral vote. I have the pleasure of remembering that I first 
voted at a Presidential election in 1856, and that I then gave tl . 
vote for Millard Fillmore. In the summer of 1864 Mr. Ogle Taylor 
of Washington, wrote to Mr. Fillmore on the subject of the Presi- 
dential nomination, and the response was: "I can assure you in all 
sincerity that I have no desire ever to occupy that exalted stati n 
again, and more especially at a time like this." Apropos of letters, 
I have had the privilege of perusing a volume of private le 
written by Fillmore, during a score of years while in public life; 
and after a careful examination I have failed to find a single pass 
that would not stand the light of day — not a word of ignoble office- 
seeking — no paltry tricks to gain notoriety — no base designs of fat- 
tening upon public plunder. 

"No line that dying, he cculd wish to Wot," 

is disclosed in this confidential correspondence, which it is 
proper that I should mention, was addressed to a venerable jour- 
nalist, still living, whose name is indissolubly connected with that 
of the late Mr. Seward. 1 

It was perhaps befitting that the last event of Mr. Fillmore's 
public life should have been his participation as Peace Commissi 
in 1860-61, in the ineffectual efforts of compromise to ward off the 

1. Thurlow Weed. The letters referred to are printed in the present 


tremendous struggle that proved to compromise and slaverj a 
struggle of death. 

Before passing from Mr. Fillmore's public career to his private 
life. I will only further add, that while we may leave to the criti 
biographer the task of measuring and adjusting his relative rank in 
the long line of illustrious men who have filled the Chief Magis- 
trate's chair, and may also let them decide whether he success 
imitated, as Webster predicted, the example set before him by 
Washington, I cannot avoid expressing the belief that if the young 
men of today, who aspire by honest labor and a noble ambition to 
serve their country, would take Millard Fillmore as their nv ' 1 
if the beauty of his life has properly impressed them— if his indus- 
try, his integrity, and his earnestness exert the power these ought to 
exert, we should soon be free from the unworthy men who Live 
usurped so many public positions in recent days, and have disgraced 
and dishonored the American name. 

Having thus glanced at the professional and political career of 
Mr. Fillmore, it now only remains for me to allude briefly to his 
private life from 1853 onward, three weeks after the close of his 
Administration he sustained a heavy affliction in the loss of his wife, 
to whom he was married in 1826. She had long been a sufferer 
from ill-health and was looking forward eagerly to a return 10 her 
old home, when she was taken away to those temples not made with 
hands. In the following year their only daughter, who had grown 
to womanhood, also passed away to the silent land. His home, now 
lonely from the loss of those who spread around it sunshine and 
happiness, induced Mr. Fillmore to carry out a long-chcrishcd pro- 
ject of visiting the Old World, and in May, 1855, he sailed in 
the Collins steamer Atlantic. I may be allowed to remember that 
our voyage was a most agreeable one, with the exception of some 
thirty-six hours, during which time we were in a terrific storm that 
swept our decks, destroying three boats, one of the wheel-houses, 
and severely injuring several of the sailors. To, add to the terror 
of our situation, we were surrounded by ieebergs. Many of the 
passengers gave themselves up for lost, and 1 shall never forget the 
tone and look of Mr. Fillmore as he said, while the storm was at its 
worst, "I wish we were at home. If I ever reach Buffalo, I shall 
remain there." Before arriving at Liverpool I experienced the 
advantage of traveling with an ex-President of the United States, 
for when several miles from the city we were transferred with our 
trunks unopened to a small steamer, and escorted by a number of 
officials to our hotel. 

We were in London during the height of the season, and I think 
I may safely assert that no American, except General Grant, ever 
received more attention in the mother country than Mr. Fillmore. 
His noble presence, his mild and courtly manners, about which there 
was the beauty of repose, and his perfect freedom from any of the 
peculiarities that too often disfigure the private character of our 
public men, combined to charm the English people. All cl 
including the Queen and her Cabinet, did him honor, and from our 
countryman. George Peabody, he was the recipient of numerous 
and gratifying attentions. With some two hundred Americans and 


about fifty more or less distinguished Englishmen, v I lown to 
one of Peabody's famous Fourth of July dinners. Mr. Fill 
exceedingly delighted with a ■ in 

Quincy, Jr., who replied to the first toast, "The day we celcbi 
Mr. Quincy said: "In the journal of my ancestor, to whom k i 
mention has been made, he endeavors to describi the < 
upon him by hearing Lord Chatham plead for the rights of '.• 
before the . House of Lords. 'That great orator,' says n 
father, 'stretched forth his hand with the dignity of a Paul, 
smote upon his breast with the energy of a Demosthenes, while with 
a prophet's foresight he warned his peers what would he the conse- 
quence of denying to British subjects the rights of Britons, and 
concluded with these memorable words: 'If I were an American, 
as 1 am an Englishman, I never would lay down my arms — never- 
never — never !' " 

Mr. Fillmore proposed later in the evening, "The health of our 
generous host." and spoke of him as a noble specimen of American 
enterprise, of whom his countrymen were justly proud. After the 
lapse of more than twenty years. I, of course, cannot remember his 
exact words, but I very distinctly recall how he spoke and that was 
very happily, and in a manner that pleased all present. 1 Leslie, the 
eminent painter, next to whom I sat, said: "What a noble-1 
man. What an agreeable, speaker! He reminds me of Sir Roberl 
Peel. You must present me to your friend, and bring him to my 

Another evening Mr. Fillmore was the guest of Mr. Peabody at 
the opera, where he had taken two large boxes, between which th - 
partition had been removed for the occasion. There were perhaps 
a dozen other distinguished Americans present, and several Boston 
beauties. Mr. Van Buren was invited but declined, owing to the 
recent death of a son. It was the opening night of the season; the 
Queen and most of the royal family were there, with nearly all the 
great titled people known in the highest society of London, yet the 
lorgnettes were chiefly directed at Mr. Peabody's box to see the 
American beauties and the ex-Presidents of the United States, as 
it had been rumored through the house that Fillmore and Van 
Buren were both present. Not even the magnificent singing of 
Grisi, Mario and Lablache, the greatest trio of the century, could 
entirely recover the attention of the vast and brilliant audience from 
our box. 

Of a summer day's ramble to Hampstead, to look up some 
friends, and to see Joanna Baillie's cottage— 

"It was the time of roses, 
We plucked them as we passed; 

:. See, for a report of these remarks, I. Fillmore, pp. 444-445- 

of a visit to the London docks, provided with tasting orders, an 
Mr. Fillmore for the first and only time in his long life, for he was 
a singularly temperate man, becoming slightly fuddled by merely 
moistening his lips with such a variety of liquids, iome said to be a 
century old; of our interesting walk through Westminster Abbey; 
of a visit to the Bank of England, when the Governor handed to the 


ex-President a million pounds sterling to "heft," as a Yankee v 
say; and of his gracious reception at the French and othci i 
tinental courts that he visited, I cannot dwell, alth • ■ h 1 \ 
gladly do so did my time permit. 

Mr. Fillmore, while in England, declined to accept the degree of 
D. C. L. offered by the University of Oxford, through its Chanct 
the late Earl of Derby. He said to your speaker: "'I had not the 
advantage of a classical education, and no man should, in my j 
ment, accept a degree that he cannot read." He then quoted '.. 
Jack Do\vning*s description of his predecessor Jackson, receiving a 
similar honor from Harvard University in 1^33, on which occasion 
the old hero concluded his remarks by introducing in tones of thun- 
•der, all the Latin he was conversant with, as follows: "E pluribus 
unumf Sine qua non! Multum in paruo! Quid pro quo! Nc plus 
ultra!" The effect was tremendous. 

Another reason that influenced the ex-President in declining the 
degree was his dread of the ridicule usually, if not universally, 
visited upon the heads of those receiving such distinction, by the 
unruly students of Oxford and Cambridge. "They would prob; bly 
ask/' he said, "Who's Fillmore? What's he done? When did he 
come from? and then my name would, I fear, give them an excel- 
lent opportunity to make jokes at my expense." Charles Francis 
Adams, the only other American who ever refused a similar honor, 
did so solely because he was unwilling to be subjected to such ti 
ment. Even Tennyson, who was honored with the degree of D. 
C. L. at the time it would have been conferred on the ex-President, 
did not escape. When the poet appeared on the platform he was, 
(in allusion to his cravat and to the usual dishevelled appearance of 
his hair), greeted with derisive shouts from the students assembled 
in the galleries, who asked, "Did your mother call you early, 
Alfred?" "Who's that fellow with the red choker?'' "Take him 
out," etc., etc. 

But I must hasten on, and cannot pause to dwelr as I could wish, 
on Mr. Fillmore's patriotic attitude during the early years of the 
late war, of his warm interest in all the good Christian work of the 
city in which he passed nearly half a century; of the method and 
exactness, the precision and punctuality with which he conducted 
his correspondence, and indeed, all his private affairs, as in earlier 
years he had conducted professional and public duties; of a second 
visit to Europe in 1S66, accompanied by one who survives him: of 
his manner of life in dignified retirement, surrounded by all the 
comforts and luxuries of life, including a well selected and much 
used library, and with an attached wife by hi:, side to share his 
happy home. In one of his letters written but a few weeks before 
the inevitable hour came, that sooner or later comes for us all, he 
remarks, "I am happy to say that my health is perfect. I ear, drink, 
and sleep as well as ever, and take a deep but silent interest in 
public affairs, and if Mrs. Fillmore's health can be restored 1 should 
feel that I was in the enjoyment of an earthly paradise." _ _ 

The ex-President accepted an invitation to meet the surviving 
members of his Cabinet and a few other valued friends at the 
princelv residence of Mr. Corcoran in Washington. The month of 


January, 1874, was designated as the date of the meeting, but was 
afterward changed to April by Mr. Fillmore's n est Uas! 
the arrival of 

"Well apparcl'd April 
That on the heel of limping winter treads," 

he was no longer among the living. After a brief illness, at ten 
minutes past eleven o'clock on Sunday evening, March 
Millard Fillmore, thirteenth President of these United States, 

"Sank to rest, 
By all his country's wishes blest." 

He was gathered to his fathers at the ripe age of three-score and 
fourteen years, and died without the knowledge that his former part- 
ner, Judge Hall, with whom he had been so long and closely 1: 
in the bonds of friendship and in professional and public life, had 
also a few days previous rested from his labors and was then 
ing in that temple of silence where the ex-President now red- by 
his side. 

I have thus run rapidly through the career of one whose 

"Life was gentle and the elements 
So mixed in him that nature might stand up 
And say to all the world, This iuas a manl" 

and I know not how I can more fittingly conclude this brief and 
simple tribute to the memory of Millard Fillmore, than with the 
words applied to another: "If it were becoming at this time and in 
this assembly^ to address our departed friend as if in his presence, I 
would say, 'r/areweli, thou who hast entered into the rest prepared 
from the foundation of the world for serene and gentle spirits lilce 
thine. . . . Farewell, happy in thy life, happy in thy death, happier 
in the reward to which that death was 4he assured passage. The 
brightness of that enduring fame which thou hast won on earth is 
but a shadowy symbol of the glory to which thou art admitted in 
the world beyond the grave. Thy errand upon earth was an errand 
of peace and good will to men, and thou art now in a region where 
hatred and strife never enter and where the harmonious activity of 
those who inhabit it acknowledges no impulse less noble or less pure 
than that of love.' " 









I '•..»■ .'..-. ■ 

• ■ 


Forest Lawn Cemetery, Cuffalo. 


At the annual meeting of the Buffalo Historical Society, Jan. 10, 
1890, following the necessary business, an hour was devoted to the 
memory of Millard Fillmore. Some members spoke briefly; others 
who had known Mr. Fillmore, intimately, submitted reminiscences 
or sent letters. A portion of these offerings, deemed worthy of 
preservation, here follows : 


After speaking of various phases of the Historical Society's work 
and interests, Mr. Langdon said: 

In the first Directory ever issued in the then village of Buffalo, 
dated 1828, a copy of which lies upon the table before you, under the 
head of "Aurora," appears the name "Millerd Filmore," both given 
and surnames misspelled. For nearly half a century that name con- 
tinued, year after year, as that of a resident of Buffalo. Millard 
Fillmore came to Buffalo light of purse, but with a right goodly 
stock of brains. He came a lad, a student and teacher; he died full 
of years, having attained the highest place in the ambition of man. 
His political career is known to the world, approved by many, by 
many severely criticized. We have gathered tonight not wholly to 
review his public life, but principally as friends and neighbors to 
recall some reminiscences and incidents of his life as a private 

Mr. Fillmore was a member of the Maryland Historical Society, 
which society has kindly sent us a photograph, of the cast in its pos- 
session made from the marble bust by Bartholomew, in Florence, in 
the year 1856. The original we have been unable to find. He was 
also an honorary vice-president of the N T ew England Historical and 
Genealogical Society for many years. His membership in these two 
societies may have been an inspiration, one of many, perhaps, that 
led to the organization of the Buffalo Historical Society in 1862, an 
incident in connection with which will be given by our secretary- , 

We celebrate tonight our thirty-seventh anniversary. Mr. Fill- 
more was one of this society's promoters, and its first president. It 
seems a grateful duty, as well as a pleasure, on our part to com- 
memorate his memory tonight. His contemporaries are nearly all 
gone. We have attempted to crystallize some kindly and historic 
memories of him as a last tribute to one who was respected, regard- 



less of political differences, by all who were favored in knowing 
him— a few more days and all his acquaintances will be 

from us. 

For want of time, we shall not be able to read all that his friend 
have sent us, bul we will give you a few excerpts. 

Mr. Fillmore's domestic life was deeply shadowed: the death of 
his first wife at Willard's Hotel, just a Tier leaving tin Whil 
was an awful blow to a most devoted husband. The death of his 
wife was followed quickly by the sudden, tragic death i . hi 
daughter, Mary Abigail, a young lady of rare accomplishm 
whose beauty of person is reflected by the pastel portrait and the 
exquisite daguerreotype we are enabled to show you tonight, by the 
kindness of companions of her youth. 1 In passing, a word o: her 
last illness may be of interest. With her close friend, Miss Scott, 
now Mrs. Lars G. Sellstedt, she had taken a lesson in German, and 
about two o'clock in the afternoon left her father's home on Franklin 
street to go to Aurora to help her grandparents about settling in the 
new home which her father had built for them in that village. Mr. 
Fillmore protested about her going by stage and told her to have 
her brother Powers drive out with her in the. carriage. This she did 
not want to do because, there would be no place in the new home 
where Powers could sleep. On that evening she was stricken with 
the dread disease of cholera; her father and her brother were sum- 
moned, but before they could reach her she became unconscious, and 
at eleven o'clock on the next morning she died. Miss Fillmore was 
an accomplished musician, playing skillfully both the piano and the 
harp; she was educated at the Normal School, and taught in one of 
the public schools after she was graduated. 

Mr. Fillmore was married twice; he was survived by his widow 
and his son, Powers. We are fortunate in having portraits of Mr. 
Fillmore, of his wife, his son and daughter, and of his father, Na- 
thaniel Fillmore, for your inspection tonight; we have also two 
busts, one by Mr. Hart and one by Mr. Selkirk, which have been 
loaned to the society by the Buffalo Library and the Fine Arts Acad- 
emy. We show you fine portraits of the three members of the firm 
of Fillmore, Hall & Haven, whose standing as the foremost firm of 
lawyers was of wide reputation. As in life these men walked to- 
gether, so in death their remains lie side by side in our sacred City 
of the Dead. 

This beautiful desk which stands before me was formerly owned 
and used by Mr. Fillmore at his home on Niagara Square. We have 
learned from Michael Solomon of this city that he made for the late 
Aoiki Cutler the chair of white oak used by Mr. Fillmore in Wash- 
ington while he was President. The upholstering of this chair was 
beautifully embroidered, the work of Mrs. Fillmore. The relics on 
exhibition in part are the property of this society and in part have 
been loaned by the friends of the Fillmore family for this occasion. 
To these friends our grateful thanks are due. The beautiful medal- 
lion of Mr. Fillmore, here shown, was made expressly for this occa- 
sion and presented to our society by Mr. A. A. Langer.bahn. 

Owned by Mrs. S. S. Jewett, and loaned to the Society for this occasion. 



Frank H. Severance said : 

Some years ago I was making a Sunday drive around Gr 
Island with the lion. Lewis F. Allen, when he said to me: 

you ever hear how the Historical Society was started?" 

Mr. Allen and I used to make very pleasant excursions togctl 
Though more than half a century lay between us, in age, we had a 
common interest in the history of the Niagara frontier — that history 
which he knew so well; so large a part of which he was 

'Tell me of it," I said. 

"I was coming up Court street one day," he continued, "when I 
met Orsamus H. Marshall. I knew him well — knew that he was one 
of the few men in Buffalo who gave any thought to the preservation 
of the records or relics of our history. Marshall, you know, was a 
scholar. Put him onto anything relating to our Indians, and off he'd 
go as long as he could follow the trail. He spoke of something that 
he wanted to get, or that had been destroyed, 1 don't remember now 
just what. 

" 'Marshall,' I said, 'we ought to do something about these things. 
Somebody should take care of them.' 

"It was a raw, windy day early in the Spring, along in March, 
1862. He said, 'Come up in my office and we'll talk it over.' 

'"The result of that talk was that we got a few others interested 
and published a call for another meeting, to be held at Mr. 
Marshall's office. The rest of it," said Mr. Allen, "is matter of 
record. We named a committee to draw up a constitution and by- 
laws, which were submitted to a meeting of citizens held in the 
rooms of the old Medical Association on South Division street. 
Millard Fillmore was made chairman of that meeting, and a little 
later, at our first election, he was chosen the first president of the 

The society's records show that the first meeting at which Mr. 
Fillmore presided was held on April 15, 1862. Mr. Allen was chair- 
man of the earlier meeting, held at Mr. Marshall's office, and was 
the first vice-president of the society. 

m r. fillmore's \tews on temperance. 

Dr. Albert H. Briggs said : 

My only excuse for making any remarks on this occasion is th< 
fact that from my earliest recollection I have known a Fillmore. 
And to know any" of this remarkable family v respect, honor 

and love them, "in my childhood 1 knew and loved Rev. Glezen 
Fillmore. "Father Fillmore" we called him— a cousin of ex-Presi- 
dent Millard Fillmore. Father Fillmore went to his reward years 
ago, but he has left his mark on all this part of our State. He will 
alwavs be remembered as the pioneer of Methodism here. 

The children of my father's household would sit for hours and 
listen to his stories of adventure and hardship while on his rounds 
as a "circuit preacher" of the M. E. Church. "His parish." he 
would say, "was all of New York State west of the Genesee river 
and a good part of Pennsylvania, as far south as Titusville and 


Meadville." On one occasion, when coming to our place to hold 
quarterly meeting, he drove by and pul up -it a nej hb .'.•'•• 

the Saturday evening services were ovei my good mother s 
him: "Father Fillmore, the children were bitterly di 
because you did not stop at our house as usual." His reply was, "I 
intended to stop at your house, Sister Briggs, but the ro 
shut, and as I did not wish to get out into the mud to open it, I 
drove on to Sister Clark's." 

"We boys" overheard the remark. We went home, and, in spite 
of its size and weight, we took the gate from its hing< >, di ed it 
some distance from the post and chained it to the pines v ith a log 
chain, where it remained several years, until long after 1 . 
Fillmore died. It is needless to say that the good man never drove 
by again without stopping. 

The next Fillmore with whom I became acquainted was Na- 
thaniel Fillmore, the father of Millard. I first met him while I was 
a student at the Academy at East Aurora. In spite of the . 
difference in our ages — he an old man, I a young boy — we were in- 
separable companions, and all the time I had to spare from my 
school duties was spent in his company. He was a very pleasant 
old gentleman, and I never tired of hearing him tell of Millard — 
his constant theme when in my company. 

While I was a student at the University of Buffalo, Millard 
Fillmore was the honored Chancellor. lie would occasionally attend 
the lectures of the professors, and always appeared to take great 
interest in all that was said and done. He most frequently attended 
the lectures of Prof. Charles A. Lee, whom he apparently respected 
very highly. Prof. Lee was a very old man, probably a little older 
than Mr. Fillmore. He was a tireless worker in his profession, and 
was, I believe, the originator — if not, at least the defender — of the 
theory that drunkenness is a disease, and should be considered and 
treated as such by the Slate. Through his. energy and tireless effort 
an institution was founded by the State at Binghamton for the treat- 
ment of this cb c s of diseases. The institution proved a failure, as 
Prof. Lee predicted it would, because the Legislature did not incor- 
porate in the law the power and authority to restrain the patients, 
even against their will, until cured. 

One day the subject of the lecture by Prof. Lee was '"Alcohol." 
After disposing of the subject from the viewpoint of the professor 
of materia medica, he branched out to deliver a most earnest, elo- 
quent and impressive address on the abuse of alcoholic bevei 
Millard Fillmore was present on this occasion, and at the close of 
the lecture was asked if he wished to make any remarks. He had 
often been given the opportunity before, but until now had always 
declined. He arose and told the class of young men how greatly 
he had been interested in the earnest words of Prof. Lee, and 
wished to add to the professor's eloquent plea the hope that none 
of the young men present would ever become addicted to the intem- 
perate use of alcoholic beverages. He pointed out the danger of 
moderate drinking, and warned them as young medical men of the 
many dangers that would especially surround them. He gave a 
brief history of his own life, of his early struggles to obtain an 
education, of the privations of his young manhood, of the tempta- 


tions that surrounded him as n law student, of his experiences as a 
lawyer, of his success as a politician, until by goo<i fortune he 
been called to hold the highest office in the g tl 
people, when he had been required to entertain the representatives 

of kings and emperors. "'Yet," said he. "up to this day I have 
seldom tasted wine and seldom olTcred it to a guest." 

As he closed his eloquent address, none could but admire the 
courtly, handsome man who stood so erect before us, his silvery 
hair showing whiter by the contrast of his glowing, ruddy counten- 
ance, his eyes clear and bright, his figure tall and erect, every move- 
ment marked by courtly dignity and grace. 

MRS. haven's recollections. 

The following paper, by Mrs. S. G. Haven, was read by Miss 
Haven : 

The private life of our late President, Millard Fillmore, was in 
his earlier years so domestic and so quiet and uneventful as to 
present but few salient points for the narrator, and none whatever 
for the sensationalist. Like all good husbands, he loved hi* wife 
and his children and found his highest pleasure in the enjoyment 
of his home. But what was peculiar to him was the marked courtesy 
of manner with which he always addres^d Mrs. Fillmore and the 
polite attention which he accorded her. It was like that which a 
man usually bestows upon a guest. 

I remember, at a party at my own house one cold winter night, 
that, after escorting Mrs. Fillmore to the parlor, he quietly slipped 
away to his own home, returning to surprise her with the flowers 
she had cut from her own conservatory and carefully arranged, but 
had forgotten to bring with her. It was these small attentions, so 
natural to him, that gave a distinctive mark to the daily intercourse 
of their lives. 

Mrs. Fillmore was a woman who had read much and who was 
well informed upon all the topics of the day, and Mr. Fillmore had 
the highest respect for her attainments, and has been heard to say 
that he never took any important step without her counsel and ad- 

The friends of the Historical Society are familiar with the iron 
car or cradle which was used upon a cable to cross the gorge of 
Niagara river during the construction of the Suspension Bridge; 
but they may not know that Mr. Fillmore himself, though naturally 
a cautious man, made that perilous passage simply because he could 
not see a headstrong woman, till then a stranger, take that appalling 
journey alone. 

Mr. Fillmore's long term of eight years in Congress brought him 
in contact with the prominent men of the times, and he often had 
an opportunity of entertaining them here in his own home. One 
evening he invited a small circle of friends to meet former President 
John Quincy Adams, and that night I listened to the most remark- 
able conversation that it has ever been my privilege to enjoy. The 
late Albert H. Tracy purposely drew Mr. Adams into an argument, 
that he might have the pleasure of knowing something of that won- 


derful talent with which the distinguished guest was so richly en- 
dowed. For nearly an hour we sat silently li <;> ; i 
gifted men, and you who remember whit were Mr. Tracy's con- 
versational abilities can perhaps imagine the rare quality of that 
mental feast. 

The relations between the firm of Fillmore, Hall & Haven were 
those of the closest intimacy, which naturally led to the discussion 
of all that filled the measure of their live?, both professional and 
political. The many letters that Mr. Haven received from Mr. Fill- 
more, including those written during the formation of the Cabinet, 
were carefully preserved for more than forty years, and then the 
most of them were destroyed, not recklessly, but because they were 
of too personal and confidential a nature to be subjected to the risk 
of ever falling into other hands. 

Some time after Mr. Fillmore had retired from the Presidency 
the members of the firm chanced to meet one evening at our house, 
and they were deploring the condition of their friend, Mr. James O. 
Putnam, who had received the appointment of Consul to Havre, 
and had left this country in such delicate health that they feared he 
would not live to return, and Mr. Fillmore exclaimed, "We shall 
never sec poor Putnam again." Twenty-four years have elapsed 
since the last member of the firm passed away, and Mr. Putnam is 
still with us, genial and sparkling as ever. 

Mr. Fillmore was a lover of books, and in his earlier life ii was 
a source of regret that he. had so little time to bestow upon them. 
All the leisure he could obtain he devoted to them, and his natural 
good taste insured his appreciation of the best authors. 

Speaking one day, with a lady, of a young man who had an ap- 
pointment in Italy, Mr. Fillmore said: "Is not he something of a 
rowdy ?"*' "Oh, no," said she, "I think not." "Why," said he, "I 
thought he drank and wrote poetry." Notwithstanding this Mr. 
Fillmore had a thorough enjoyment of poetry.- He was dining once 
in London with a circle who were discussing the poets, when some 
one asked if he was fond of Cooper's poems. He replied that he 
was not aware that Cooper had written poetry, and that he knew 
him only as a novelist. '"Oh," said the other, "we mean our own 
Cooper, not yours." "I did not know you had a Cooper," said he, 
"and I know nothing of his poems." A moment later he discovered 
that they were speaking of Cowper, who was one of his -favorites, 
but whose name he had never heard pronounced in the English way. 

Early in the first winter of Mr. Fillmore's administration, Mr. 
Haven received a letter from him. [An invitation to visit Washing- 
ton. Mrs. Haven gave an extract from the letter which is printed 
in full in this volume, pp. 354-357-] , 

In response to this cordial invitation we went to Washington, 
and it was there as a member of his household that I learned to 
know Mr. Fillmore with an ever-increasing admiration of his high- 
toned character. The cairn serenity of manner, which was his dis- 
tinguishing characteristic, seemed never to fail him, and he met the 
all changing circumstances of his varied career with dignity and 

The sudden and unexpected manner in which Mr. Fillmore was 
called to the Presidential chair is known to you all. I have heaid 


him say that the only night in his life in which he never slept for 
one moment was the night after Gen. Taylor's death. He was over- 
whelmed by the great responsibilities so suddenly thrust upon him 
and the shortness of the time for adequate preparation, rhere was 
but one precedent to guide him, that of John Tvler, after the death 
of William Henry Harrison. Gen. Harrison's Cabinet immediately 
sent in their resignations, which Mr. Tyler courteously declined to 
accept, requesting them to remain with him. Mr. Fillmore was 
aware that he might be expected to follow this example, yet he at 
once accepted the resignation of Gen. Taylor's Cabinet, feeling that 
he could not assume such grave responsibilities without surrounding 
himself with men of his own choice, with whom he could work in 
perfect harmony, and as soon as he could arrange so delicate and 
important a matter, he had formed that strong Cabinet which began 
with Daniel Webster and ended with John J. Crittenden. 

By the formation of this Cabinet Mr. Fillmore brought together 
in Washington the old Buffalo firm of Fillmore, Hall & Haven, Mr. 
Fillmore as President of the United States, Judge Hall as Postmas- 
er General and Mr. Haven as Member of Congress. Perhaps it is 
not known to the younger members of this society that these three 
men had for sixteen years (not consecutive years) the lienor of rep- 
resenting Erie county in the Congress of the United States. Every 
one who has lived in Washington knows what an influence the 
Cabinet has in giving tone to society, and in that regard this Cabinet 
of Mr. Fillmore proved most acceptable to the residents of that city, 
who always look with the keenest interest at all the changes in this 
particular branch of the Government. The house of Mr. Webster 
was always open 10 hospitality, and at his receptions all who were 
best worth knowing were to be found. Mr. Crittenden had for years 
held a high position in Washington, and Mrs. Crittenden is still 
remembered as one of the brilliant women of her day. 

At the White House the entertainments were numerous and were 
largely attended. The President held a reception every Tuesday 
morning and a levee on Friday evenings. There was a large dinner 
in the Congressional dining room on Thursday evenings, and a small 
one of twenty or more every Saturday evening in the family dining 
room. Mr. Fillmore received these guests with that courtly dignity 
which always marked his demeanor, and a resident of Washington, 
who had seen many Presidents in the White House, told me that in 
this respect no one of them, with the exception of Franklin Pierce, 
had even approached Mr. Fillmore. 

Since the period of which I write, the etiquette of Washington 
has greatly changed. At that time the President and his wife never 
accepted any invitations whatever, and this custom was so rigidly 
observed that none was ever sent to them, except occasionally for 
a wedding or some large public function. This was the inflexible 
rule from the time of Washington down to that of Mr. Lincoln. 
Mr. Fillmore made one exception. Once a year he dined quietly 
with Mr. Corcoran, who was a private citizen. But Mrs. Lincoln 
went to Washington with peculiar views of her own, and she suc- 
ceeded in breaking down the barriers that had been established from 
the foundation of the Government, and since then the Presidents 
have dined with the Cabinet and others of high position. But while 


the President and his wife did not visit, they were always exf | 
to have some one in the White House to attend I rial ' I 

and for this position Miss Fillmore, though onlj rs ot 

age, was most admirably qualified. Mr. Fillmore was ju 
of his only daughter. Her musical talent was of a hij h order; 
spoke French fluently, and her attractive personality and hei 
conversational abilities won the admiration of tl 
to whom she was always ready to adapt herself. '1 he I 
son, Mr. Powers Fillmore, was private secretary, and upon him de- 
volved the duty of arranging all the details of the dinners and 
special entertainments. 

When Mr. Fillmore took possession of the Executive Mansion i' 
contained no books, not even a Bible. He applied to Con- rcss for 
an appropriation, and fitted up as a library the largesl and n 
cheerful room in the second story. Here Miss Fillmore had her 
own piano and harp, and here Mrs. Fillmore, surro muled by her 
books, spent the greater part of her time, and in this room the 
family received their informal visitors. The President had but 
time to give to this library, for his labors were arduous, and it was 
only by the most systematic arrangement, which gave to each hour 
its own specific duty, that he was able to accomplish the work of the 
day. But he usually succeeded in leaving the Executive Chamber 
at 10.30 at night and spending a pleasant hour in the library with his 

One of the interesting incidents of the winter was a visit from 
Mr. Fillmore's father. It was the first time that any President had 
enjoyed the pleasure of entertaining his own father at the Executive 
Mansion. The morning after his arrival the papers announced that 
''the venerable father of the President'' was at the White House, 
and there was an unusually large attendance at the reception that 
day, judges, senators and private citizens, all seeming desirous of 
paying their respects. Air. Nathaniel Fillmore was in vigor* 1 
health, and as he stood by the side of the President, his tail figure 
still quite erect, he showed none of the infirmities of age, and ap- 
peared somewhat younger than his eighty years. As the President 
presented the guests to him, each one shook him cordially by the 
hand, and some of them stopped for a moment's conversation. One 
man from New York said to him : "You have been so successful in 
raising sons, I wish you would tell me how to bring up my little 
boy." "Cradle him in a sap trough," said Mr. Fillmore, always 
ready with an answer. It was an exciting morning for him, but he 
seemed to enjoy it, and when it was over and we were alone, he 
said to mc: "If I could have the power of marking out the path\ ... 
of life for my son, it would never have led to this place, but 1 cannot 
help feeling proud of it now that he is here." 

At" the close of Mr. Fillmore's administration he and Mrs. Fill- 
more had planned a journey through the Southern States, when they 
were to be accompanied by some of the members of the Cabinet, but 
on the day which they left the White House, Mrs. Fillmore took a 
violent cold, and in less than four weeks she died at Willard's Hotel. 

It was in the dark shadow of this great sorrow that Mr. Fillmore 
returned to private life. His devotion to his wife was shown in 
many ways, and it led him to carefully preserve every line she had 


ever written to him. He said he could never make up his mind to 
destroy even the little business notes she sent him ai his ol 

When, in less than two years after hi ; return to Buffalo, his be- 
loved daughter was taken from him after an illness of 
hours, the cup of his affliction was filled to ovei He could 

not remain in his home, now so desolate, and he soon left I 
year's travel in Europe, a pleasure which but a short time before he 
had been expecting to enjoy with his daughter. After remaining a 
v/idower for nearly six years, Mr. Fillmore was married to Mrs. 
Caroline Mcintosh of Albany. The wedding took place at the home 
of Mrs. Mcintosh,, which was the fine old Schuyler mansion, so filled 
with historic associations connected with our Revolutionary si; 
and a few of us, who were among his most intimate frie 
to Albany with Mr. Fillmore and his son to be present at the cere- 

In the heat and strife of party conflict Mr. Fillmore was severely 
criticised, but now that time has softened these animosities, the 
country seems ready to accord to him an honorable position in the 
lineof our Presfdents. No one can deny that during his Adminis- 
tration our country was prosperous at home and respected abroad, 
and here, where he was best known, all seem ready to unite in point- 
ing to him as an example of an honorable and useful life. - 
cherish and revere his memory and to teach their children to be 
proud of our first Buffalo President. 


Mr. Lars G. Sellstedt said, in part: 

It gives me unfeigned pleasure to learn that you are preparing 
a memorial sketch of the life of the late honored ex- President Mil- 
lard Fillmore for the Buffalo Historical Society, of which he was, if 
not the real founder, one of the most prominent, and its first presi- 

For more than a quarter of a century Mr. Fillmore's public life 
has been the property of history; his public acts have been approved 
or censured according to the moral or political bias of his contem- 
poraries. They were sometimes assailed with, undeserved bitterness 
by those who did not understand the patriotism of his motives, but 
1 believe few, if any, questioned the honesty el his purpose. 

Beyond everything Mr. Fillmore reverenced Law; to him the 
Constitution was a sacred document to be kept inviolate. I once 
asked him while sitting to me for his portrait, why he signed the 
Fugitive Slave Law, knowing, as he must have known, how un- 
popular it would make him. His answer was in substance: Mr. 
Webster and others of his Cabinet advised it, as it was in fact only 
a measure to give force to a clause of the Constitution generally 
understood to affect negro slavery. The shave States already threat- 
ened secession and it was thought politic to yield to their w 
for a time, knowing that as they would never be able to carry 
slavery into the territories, the time was not far distant when these 
would become States, thus giving the political preponderance neces- 
sary to change the Constitution so as to abolish slavery. 


Mr. Fillmore was a most agreeable sitter, replete with 
stones, which he told with tine effect. He was always 
courteous, often amusing, but never losing his di 
He rather prided himself on punctuality, whether in pm I 
public. Always at the hour appointed, whether it was a sitting or .1 
meeting of the Board of the Buffalo Fine Arts Acad 
so long as he lived, he was a member. Once, howev 
engagement with me, and his regret at having failed was a 
pitiable. "Mr. Sellstedt," lie said, "this is the first time 
that I have failed to keep an appointment. I have always made it 
the rule of my life to be punctual." 

Mr. Fillmore's art idea was not of a high order. What he liked 
and understood was objective in the highest degree. Neither do I 
believe his musical idea was Wagnerian. In poetry it was the 
farthest from subjective. Pope was his model, and the Essay on 
Man was his idea of verse. He thought Shakespeare much over- 

Mr. Fillmore's sense of humor was keen, and in his family or 
among intimate friends he would contribute his full share at" the 
shrine of Momus. 


Mr. President: You ha/e asked for my recollections ?nd im- 
pressions, in brief, of Mr. Fillmore in his citizen and public rela- 

It is almost a quarter of a century since his death, and his mem- 
ory may well be recalled in the city of which he was the most dis- 
tinguished citizen and where his name will ever be held in honor. 

During the early years of his Buffalo life his time was divided 
between his profession and his service in the State and National 
legislatures, and his citizen relations to Buffalo were not more 
marked than those of other leading lawyers. Buffalo was a young 
city, and its institutional life, except its churches and schools, had 
hardly begun. But at the time of Mr. Fillmore's return to Buffalo 
in 1853, the city had entered on its later development all along the 
line of municipal life, and in this development he became an im- 
portant actor. He was then fifty-three years of age. His large 
intercourse with the world, his native dignity, and his courtly man- 
ner and never-failing courtesy, where courtesy was due, gave him 
marked distinction. He was not a brilliant or a magnetic man, but 
he was loyal to friendship and just to all men If there was any 
one moral quality to which he paid the deepest reverence, that quality 
was justice. When that element entered into a question or contro- 
versy in any sphere of his action, i: became the dominant element to 
which all others must bow. 

Again, referring to his return to Buffalo at the close of his public 
life, the great question for him to solve was how he could spend his 
remaining years. He was in full health and mental vigor. An un- 
written rule then prevailed that an ex-President, if a lawyer, should 
not resume the practice of his profession; his business must be to 
maintain the dignity of a retired President, live in elegant leisure, 


adorn salons, and wait patiently for a State funeral. That rule pre- 
vailed until, Mr. Cleveland, with characteristic independence, at the 
close of his first term, broke over that network oi absurdity, and 
passed from his Presidential to his law-office chair. V\ Pre 

Harrison followed in the same line, and the rule may now be con- 
sidered abolished. Mr. Fillmore was a victim of this rule. Th< city 
was the gainer if he was the loser. He identified himself with our 
best institutions, led a life of dignity and of tasteful simplicity, 
maintaining pleasant, relations with his fellow citizens and gi 
and receiving hospitalities with his friends. He was the first pr< si- 
dent of the Historical Society, first chancellor of the University of 
Buffalo, was president of the Buffalo Club, and during the Civil 
War was the first officer of the "Union Continentals," a military 
companj' of middle-aged men. This organization was a moral sup- 
port of the Government. But these and other important civic rela- 
tions could give but partial relief from wearisome ennui. For fuller 
recreation and occupation he resorted to his library, and found in its 
companionship the best substitute for the activities of his former 
life. He had no taint of affectation of learning, and welcomed 
knowledge from whatsoever source it came. So passed his last 
twenty years. 

To the fifteen years of his public and official life we look for the 
highest illustrations of his conservative character. In this connec- 
tion I will say that he was often called a lucky man. The late Judge 
Stow, a conspicuous figure in Buffalo fifty years ago. said, after 
Mr. Fillmore's election as Vice-President, that he would be Presi- 
dent before the four years' term expired; that "General Taylor 
might defy Mexican bullets, but he could not survive Fillmore's 
luck." He was certainly a fortunate man, but he served up to every 
position he ever held, called to them all as an expression of the con- 
fidence, first, of his district, then of the State and the Nation, in his 
ability and the purity of his character. Fie had no arts but manly 
arts; was not in the least degree a demagogue, iuis public con- 
fidence served him in place of political finesse and tact, for he had 
little of either. His personal following in his district in those early 
days was of solid men, whose nominating conventions were inde- 
pendent and deliberative bodies, not met to ratify some outside de- 
cree, but to select proper representatives for the popular suffrage. 
Mr. Fillmore served three years in the State Legislature and eight 
years in the National House of Representatives. It is the testimony 
of his contemporaries that he brought industry, large intelligence, 
careful study and conscientious purpose to every legislative question 
on which he was called to act. He left Congress with a national 
reputation for the solid qualities which make an able legislator, and 
both the State and Nation regarded him in character and ability 
equal to their highest honors, which followed in rapid succession. 

He succeeded to the Presidency on the death of General Taylor, 
when the cri-is of 1850-51 was at its height. It was the transition 
period in the sentiment of the Northern States on the subject of 1 
slavery. From the time of the acquisition of the new territories 
from Mexico, the hostility to the system had risen a very tidal wave, 
every day marking its advance. The struggle of the South to plant 
slavery in the new territories and of the North to consecrate them 


to freedom was maintained with all the passion th 

nistic interests and the most profound convictions could inspire f| 

was a battle of giants; the stake an empire. What coul 

revolutionary storm? An appeal was made to the only v., 
vised in such national crises, except the appeal to war. YV< 
history. It was the judgment of many patriotic men in ai 
Congress that unless the compromise formulated under th 

ship of Senator Henry Clay, whose patriotic public career is a 
of the Nation, should be adopted by Congress, civil \. 
follow and imperil the very existence of the I 

ures, among others, admitted California to the Union, a i: State, 
and abolished the_ slave trade, not slavery, in the District of Colum- 
bia. I visited Washington while the tierce struj 
while Mr. Fillmore was Vice-President, and I well remember his 
words in an interview I had with him, and the deep sensibility with 
which he uttered them, which were, in substance, that he snared the 
opinions and fears of those who favored the compromise. With 
these impressions he entered upon the Presidency. After Congress 
had adopted the compromise measures, the whole responsibility of 
peace or war. as he believed, and as millions of his countrymen be- 
lieved, rested upon the President. It was easy for those on 
the final responsibility did not rest to appeal to a "higher lav' 
the Constitution, but where that awful responsibility did rest, the 
Constitution and its obligations must be his guide. He acted upon 
the principle avowed by President Lincoln in his letter to Horace 
Greeley, of date August 12, 1862, when the veteran editor was urging 
through the Tribune an immediate Emancipation Proclamation. 
Said Lincoln, "I would save the Union ; if there be those who would 
not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy 
slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object is to save 
the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery." 

Both Fillmore and Lincoln made the humanities of the slavery 
question wholly subordinate to the national safety. Why should the 
President, it may be asked, sanction a compromise with slavery? I 
answer, because the Government is the offspring of Compromise, 
which is blazoned all over the Constitution, which is supreme in its 
fostering care of slavery. At the demand of some of the slave 
States the Constitution kept open the African slave trade for twenty 
years, to 180S, so throwing its shield over the miseries of kidnaping 
wars in Africa and the horrors of the middle passage, whose 
cruelties converted many a New England slave ship into floating 
hells. It further provided for the return of fugitive slaves, which 
required an efticiev law of Congress This provision passed the 
Constitutional convention by a unanimous vote. These piovisions 
of the Constitution, as it existed down to our Civil War, rev 
two tilings: First, that the Federal Union had never existed but 
for these provisions; it further shows to us the vast stride the sen- 
timent of humanity had made since the adoption of the Constitution, 
and this evolution was in the line of the social and moral progress 
of the age. But while public opinion had made this great advance, 
the Constitution of the United States remained, with all its obliga- 
tions, as it stood when Washington penned his signature to it as 
President of the Constitutional convention. 


That humane sentiment was prepared to resist any attempt to 

return fugitive slaves to bondage under any law. Thai 

very v. el; fc:- ll . N e v. h. ■ Ii'-.i < 

tution and on whom rested no final responsibility. I Fill- 

more, who had no more love for the fugitivt slave law, per sc, than 
had its foes, and who had no pari in framing it, with as patriotic a 
purpose as ever inspired a statesman's action, gave his approval to 
the whole scries of compromise measures as measures of peace and 
national safety. _ Then broke the furious storm on his head, its 
center the fugitive slave law, and he learned thai the path \ 
appeared to him, that of official duty, may be the path of obloquy. 
So Washington suffered when he refused' to make an alliano 
France in her war with England; so Sir Robert Peel, the 
premier of Great Britain, when he broke from his party to repe I 
the corn laws, was branded by the landed aristocracy with the 
crime of betraying his party, and the poisoned arrows of Di 
are yet cherished in the armory of Tory hate. But he had the satis- 
faction of knowing that he had given cheap bread to starving mil- 
lions of his countrymen and saved England from an agrarian revo- 
lution. The conservative power of official responsibility has had 
recent illustration in English politics. The religi \ es in Eng- 

land and leading representatives of public opinion demanded of Lord 
Salisbury that he compel the Sultan to stop the massacres in Abys- 
sinia. We Americans joined in the cry. The Premier knew tint 
meant war on Turkey, and that war or. Turkey by England \ 
precipitate an universal European war, whose wreckage no prophetic 
vision could measure. Was he wrong, as a statesman, knowing as 
he did that every' European power was the enemy of England, and 
would rejoice to see her baffled and despoiled? Self-preservation is 
the first law of